As in Alzheimers, if you lose memory of who you are and of everyone you know, are you still you?
In Alzheimer's there is progressive memory loss, usually starting with short-term memory. Very few people would forget who they were themselves (I've never met one). Just because you can't remember what you did yesterday doesn't alter the fact that you are still you. The same applies when it gets to the point that a person doesn't recognise their own close family. If you join a new club or workplace, where you don't know or recognise anybody, that doesn't mean that you aren't 'you'. You will learn their names and get to know them, just as somebody with Alzheimer's does, albeit they may have to do it every time they meet.
Usually people with Alzheimer's will remember things from the distant past, including childhood. They will probably remember their parents, siblings, schooldays etc. Those experiences go into what makes you 'you' and they haven't been lost.
I think you would be a different you in a lot of ways, of course; but I truly believe you would still very much be you - the person who has loved the people you have loved, and the person who is still loved by those who have always loved you. People who have had loved ones with Alzheimer's Disease will generally tell us that they have "already lost" a very big part of the person they love. They also often tell us that the person is still very much the same person s/he has always been in so many other ways.
I don't underestimate the importance and significance of the very big part of advanced Alzheimer's patient that has been lost. What shouldn't be underestimated, though, are all the things the individual has brought to the world and to those s/he loves, and who have loved him/her. That person still has the same arms that rocked a child, the same hands that held someone else's hand, the same feet that once stood firmly on the ground, and the same beating heart that not only sustains the life of someone who has lost so much, but the life of someone who has given so much that can, and won't, ever be lost.
I don't think life (or disease) can ever make someone "not be him any more". I think they can separate him from the "him" he used to be, alter the ending to his story, and put him in a place that nobody who has never been there could ever understand. I don't think, though, that life and/or disease can ever turn someone into being anyone or anything other than himself (disabled and different from his "old self" as he may be).
others see you as the same person, because they know you from memory but you've lost memory of who you are and of them.
Two people look identical but have different personalites and memories
Is the essence of you body or mind, memory and personality
Wonderful question. People with Alzheimer's frequently have changes in their mood or behavior. They may forget their family, children and friends. These changes can be devastating. I have seen mean people turn into sweet loving people. I have seen people who quit smoking years ago ask for a cigarette. Although there are similarities, if you have seen a person with Alzheimer's you have seen a person with Alzheimer's. No two are the same. Patients with this disease sometimes have "breakthrough" thoughts. During these times, they have brief memories, ability to talk or communicate. It is at these times that you can see the "old" personality coming out. These moments are so wonderful when they happen. I have had many people tell me, "I wish you had known them before...." Yes you are still you. A teen is no longer the baby they once were. A senior is no longer a teen. During these changes you are still you. Not the same you, but yes you.
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