Lemme begin by saying, who HASN’T found their remote control in their fridge at least once?!? (and I’m not including when you had a liiiiiiiitttle too much vodka one night).
Well, I have.
Okay, maybe not that exact scenario, but you’re a big fat liaaaaa if you haven’t done something similar when you were distracted, such as:
A. Threw something valuable in trash?
B. Totally forgot what you just went upstairs for?
C. Put your cell phone in the washing machine? (Thank you husband for the personal example lol)
Come on, everybody’s doin’ it! And it makes sense because, we’re ya know, “otherwise occupied” with 3 children screaming or a work problem on our minds and simply unable to focus on the task at hand.
Sometimes it can be a funny situation (like when I put my underwear on backwards one day and was wondering why things felt a bit “odd”—–yes that was a true story folks and if you tell anyone about it I’ll never forgive you). Regardless of how funny it is, most of us get frustrated a little to super frustrated when we do something silly.
Well, step inside Mr. Gray’s sneaks with me. Don’t be shy…
K, now that we’re all here. Mr. Gray can’t just laugh off Dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc., with a “Oh silly me!” No, dude. This is tough stuff. We all know the deal here…..these diseases and gray issues are for lack of a more proper phrase: “Pieces O’ Shit.” Not being able to remember the most basic things like what a “shoe” is called to the most important things like the names and faces of loved ones. Well, a round of drinks for everyone involved because THAT SUCKS. But I’m not here to tell you what you already know about dementia. I’m here to talk to you about what you CAN do for Mr. Gray — you can help him retain his dignity.
- Don’t baby talk: Baby, sweety, honey—– save that for your lovaaa! Why should we talk to an 85 year old any differently than we would a 45 year old?
- Choices: What do you want to wear today? The light blue sweater or the red floral shirt? By assuming, well you know….you make an ASS OUT OF YOU AND ME. This allows Mr. Gray to maintain autonomy and I mean, who doesn’t like choice?!
- Don’t lie! Just because you can get away with it and “he/she won’t know the difference anyway”, doesn’t mean you should. NOW, that being said, there are certain lies that would benefit Mr. Gray’s well-being. You have to use your best judgement. But as much as possible, tell the truth.
- Engage in normal discussion: Keep it simple and provide direction in the conversation when possible. It’s beautiful outside today! What do you think about those flowers outside? I bet they smell lovely… Even if one’s memory isn’t sharp, doesn’t mean conversations don’t have value.
These are just a FEW things you can do to make Mr. Gray’s life brighter when the good ole ‘noggin isn’t working quite as well as it used to. I’m in. You?
I’ll leave you with this heartfelt story I saw on tv when the Washington Capitals (Hockey for some of you non-fans) won the Stanley Cup recently. The interviewer asked one of the star players, the goalie T.J. Oshie, about his game play inspiration.
It’s okay, cry it out. I did too.
So yeah, this disease stinks and Mr. Gray sometimes has to live with this. Until we can fix it, let’s do what we can to not judge him for it and treat him like a whole person. And remember there’s one thing that always remains whole no matter what…
HEART! <3 <3 <3