My grandfather has a (nowadays) quickly progressing dementia that has taken shape in declining health and visible personality changes this past year. My father has allegedely noticed personality changes for another 2-3 years before.
What's so hard to me is my grandfather has become a more open, sociable, loving and engaged person in his dementia. He can't remmeber what we did this summer, but he'll invite you to sit on the chair next to him and ask about your job and social life and anything else interesting. He also share a lot about himself and his childhood.
This has never been his personality. I long suspected he is actually undiagnosed autistic due to his lack of social interests. He's always had a very traditional relationship with a wife who cook and clean and raise the kids, grandkids included. As a child I mostly remember us coming over and him and my dad going into the basement -where kids couldn't be - while his wife cooked and put on a movie or took us swimming and bought ice cream. She has also always been the one resposible for christmas and birthday gifts (even down to sending the cash, as adults). I've never doubted he loved me but at the same time I am facing the fact that I hardly knew him, and I don't know what it is I'm actually loosing as his personality changes...because he seems almost like a nicer person? I have an accessible grandpa that openly shower me with love and wanting to be close. How is that "the other side" of dementia? When I lost my other grandfather to Alzheimers I could list all the things I missed about him. This time...I almost prefer the new him. If his health wasn't so bad and he had a better memory it'd seem an improvement, which is horrible to say.
I don't know how to proccess this and I feel like an awful human.