My mom had Alzheimer's, and passed away in 2009. She was 92, and had symptoms for almost 9 years. A slow, agonizing ordeal. My Dad died at 89 in 2006, and I know he feared for Mom's care, etc. We tried to reassure him that we three kids would make sure she got the best possible care, but I know he was completely devastated to go before her.
I've always wondered; when sitting there talking to Mom, telling her about my life, bringing her grandchildren to see her, etc. what if anything she understood. She never seemed to be aware of who I was, or my kids or wife. She would laugh a bit with us, and didn't seem overly depressed, etc. But is there any research indicating they have any awareness of reality? Did she actually hear and get what we were saying, but was unable to respond? I hope my Mom at least understood that she was loved, cherished and appreciated. It always seemed like her mind was almost totally vacant. Hopefully she didn't know what had happened to her, and was simply unaware.
I hope you were at peace then and now, Mom.