With my Father's dementia, he has stopped talking for the most part, except for short responses (a word or several words, rarely a sentence). But over the past few months I've noticed that he often repeats what those around him say - and it seems to be comforting to him to repeat what he hears. I've learned that his ability to read (and most likely his comprehension) is far greater than what we've assumed - and that his problem is that when he wants to say something, he can't find the words or phrases or put them together in a sentence in order to communicate. He has gotten so frustrated that he rarely tries anymore.
So about a month ago I purchased a small white board and brought it to his room, and everyday we change the words or phrases on the board and go over them with him. At first I thought he might refuse to do it - sometimes he balks at things that hint of condescension - but instead he's eager to read the words and reading them seem to make him feel better. It's a comfort for him to see the word "potato" and to be able to say that word. We're starting to do sentences this week, and are going to put well-known quotes on the board next. Although he couldn't come up with these words himself, the words are somehow still with him - and we can help him see them again.
I always tell folks working with my dad to not underestimate him. It's what I've noticed at his memory care facility, this awful underestimation of people. Overestimate what they can do and be comfortable with failure - after almost two years of spending quite a bit of time in my father's facility, the one thing I've learned is that everyone there is more capable that I first realized.
I pretty much missed Christmas this past December - yep, for the first year ever I got the flu shot on a year when the flu shot wasn't quite so effective. I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a scary fever - so of course didn't consider visiting my Father in his memory care facility until I was well.
We celebrated Christmas about five days late (a lesson learned from dementia is that the calendar is irrelevant for the most part, so no harm done). When I got to Dad's room he was sound asleep, so I arranged his gifts under his small Christmas tree before waking him up.
THE DAN seems to think that since I don't post here much anymore, that it means that her handsomeness is being lost on the world (that silly DAN!) - so I thought I'd share a few miscellaneous photos of her from over the past few months. Cell phone pics, Nikon camera pics, misbehaving pics. Life with THE DAN.
I've spent much of the fall and winter in Virginia, close to my Father. His vascular dementia has been progressing, although he still enjoys many things - thankfully. I have a million things to say about dementia, but haven't yet had the energy to put it into words.
I'm teleworking for my 'day job'. (Still with these guys).
I'd like to post more here again - but like many good intentions... nada.
I lost Handsome Stan this fall. I need to write about that. I miss him.
Big Bad Baby Boy Blue is on Prozac and has separation anxiety. He's doing better - I know that this crazy traveling between SC and VA has been difficult for him, so overall he's managed it well (as long as he has his Chuck-It ball).
Annabelle Lee, aka Bella Banana, aka B. Banana, is still as sweet as ever (unbeknownst to her, she has a dental cleaning tomorrow). I've had her for over six years, and was told six years ago that she could be 8-10 years old, but the vet here in Virginia thinks that she might just be 10 years old now. I liked hearing that.
The Dan is at least 9, maybe 10. She's perfect (except when she's chewing a dog bed).
More soon. Hope everyone is doing okay (is there still an 'everyone' out there? I doubt it.)
~Yes, this is Dan sitting in/on a bay window. I did say 'get down!' but not until I took this photograph with my cell phone~
~BBBBB and THE DAN... and a duck-taped dog bed and evidence of the destruction in the background. THE DAN thinks that she is hiding behind BBBBB in this image, so really, you can't see her here~
~the sweet girl ever, laying on top of Annabelle Lee's crate in the sunshine, wearing her old, and much too small, coat~
~an action shot of BBBBB (and Kong ball) with THE DAN in her lovely new Christmas coat... these two loved the snow, while Annabelle Lee wanted me to wake her up when it was all over (although she loved the way she looked in her coat)~
~the best ever DAN wearing her Christmas coat - snug (and warm) as a bug in a rug~