I'll Meet You There

One of the most challenging things about dealing with dementia is realizing that the people that I used to know as "mom" and "dad" are really not there anymore.  In learning about how to talk with Alzheimer's patients, one of the first rules is to eliminate the word "remember" from conversations.  Because, in fact, they do not remember.  Instead, I've learned to agree as much as possible with whatever my parents say; to, in effect, meet them where they are.

 So when my dad starts a conversation telling me how he ran in to Sheephead, an old friend from high school, rather than say "Dad, Sheephead died a few years ago", instead I ask how Sheephead is doing these days.  The conversations definitely take some unusual turns and I often feel like I'm back playing pretend with my four year old son.  But in truth it makes him happy to think about Sheephead and reminding him that he has died would not register with him, nor would he remember that for more than a fleeting second.

 I've never dropped acid, but sometimes when I'm deep in a pretend conversation I wonder if that's what it feels like.  

E- J you need to mention too that certain hand gestures also represent people. For instance 'rounded hands' generally means he is looking to talk with his son. Two fingers in the air indicates that the dentist needs a talkin to about the recent tooth extraction. And a fist to the side of his head is correctly directed at himself as a clear request for his night time 'knock out pills' (2 footballs and a circle). Do you think I am dropping acid right now?