PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Expect the Unexpected

With July 4th over, I decided it was time to take the small American flags out of the flower center pieces that live on each table in the dining room. B was wandering around and when she saw one of the aides she asked, "Can I help you?"

The aide, busy as they always are, said, "Thank you B, but I do not need any help."

It was obvious to me so I asked B, "Would you help me get the American Flags and put them away?"

She followed me from table to table. I removed the flags and handed them to her. With each new set of flags, she asked, "Where should I put them?" B has the habit of repetitive speaking.

Each time, I replied, "Just follow me and I'll show you where they go."

When we had collected all of the flags, and B did a good job of gathering and holding on to all 26 of them, and having asked 13 times about where she should put them, we went over to the hutch and I opened the door. I pointed, "They go here."

"Here, you take them," she said.

"No, you put them here," I replied, pointing again.

After a "back and forth" of three or four times, she finally put them on the shelf in the hutch and I thanked her.

"You are welcome," said B.

The entire activity took about ten minutes (B moves slowly) but both she and I felt successful. B for having helped, me for having allowed B to help!

• • •

At the table behind Gregory sits S, a very tall strong man of 70 or 75. He sits at the table by himself because he is very unsocial and has a tendency to throw his food, juice, glass, napkin, and cutlery at people or at the wall if there are no people.

On the same day I helped B, I was helping Gregory with his dinner and S was banging his cup of juice on the table quite energetically. The cloth and everything else had been removed but he had the cup, three quarters filled with juice, firmly in his hand. I thought I would be helpful if I could take the cup from him and put it down on the table out of reach. "S, may I have the cup?" I asked. I was able take it from him.

Next S began lifting and bouncing the table at least as energetically as he had been banging the cup. The cup was about to go over when I grabbed it and began to put it on the chair next to his table. Then I had an idea. I offered him a drink by lifting the glass to his mouth as I asked, "Would you like a drink?"

He didn't fight me but drank as if he had been as parched as the desert. I stopped to let him take a breath and offered the juice again. He drank again. In fact he finished all the juice in the cup before I placed it over on the chair.

Maybe he just wanted a drink and didn't know how to do it or how to ask for it. Instead of reacting to his negative responsive behaviors, it was so easy for me to turn the situation around.

• • •

Across from Gregory at the dining room table sits A. 

A is blind, has a repetitive habit of tapping the table and/or smoothing her napkin or the table cloth. She needs to be fed by one of the aides so she sits in front of her meal until one is free to help her.

Gregory pointed at her a couple of times and mumbled affectionately about A, to me it felt he was empathizing with her. He gestured so gently and lovingly at her. At one point, Gregory began to cry over A's situation.

This caused F, who also sits across from Gregory, to begin keening at a loud, shrill pitch. "Where is my husband?" she cried. "I am worried about my husband," she informed and continued keening.

This caused Gregory to begin grieving over both A and F and crying as well.

Eventually A got fed, F was taken out in the hall to be soothed, and Gregory was at peace again.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are always welcome. You are appreciated! If you do not have a sign-in on any of the accounts below ... use ANONYMOUS. All comments are moderated and will appear as appropriate. Thanks. Please, keep commenting!