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Alzheimer’s and Humor: What If You Had a Fire in Your Kitchen?

Alzheimer’s is such a deadly serious topic and deservedly so. But sometimes laughter is the best medicine. So I’ve decided to make a “Silly Saturdays” post every week with some sort of amusing story about Ed when he was demented. Here’s the first one. I hope you enjoy it. Please send me your own “silly” stories and I’ll post them, too.

What if You Had a Fire in Your Kitchen?

Ed answered the knock on his door and found a pretty young lady in her mid 20s standing there. He smiled and gestured for her to enter. “Hello there! Oh, I’m so excited to see you again. How have you been? Come ‘een’! Come ‘een’!” he bid her.

Only thing was, Ed had never seen her before. That alone pretty much fulfilled the purpose of her visit. Kristi, Director of Admissions at the Alois Center, was there to evaluate Ed for placement. I’d warned her I couldn’t promise he’d even allow her in, let alone talk with her, so I was immensely relieved he was agreeable that day. Ed was oblivious to the real reason I’d arranged this interview. I told him she was a friend of mine who worked in a nursing home and she wanted to practice interviewing elderly people. It was only because of his dementia that I had to do it and it was only because of his dementia that I could get away with it.

Ed and his apartment were reasonably presentable that afternoon. He sat in his recliner, which served as the centerpiece of the living room from which he watched his precious political talk shows. Kristi, her white summer dress flecked with little green flowers matching the freshness of the sunny and breezy late August day, took a seat on the sofa near his chair. Not wanting to interfere, I sat at the far end of the sofa, planning to just observe.

She explained the real reason she was there. He didn’t seem to understand, but he was in an excellent mood and readily agreed to talk with her. I assumed it was mostly because she was so young and pretty. He loved all young and pretty women.

Kristi consulted the paper that was attached to a manila folder with a large paper clip, turned her body directly toward Ed, and began asking the usual questions, enunciating each word clearly and loudly.

“Can you tell me who’s the President?”

“Boosh,” he blurted out, grinning.

“Can you tell me what date it is today?”

He thought for a few seconds, then his head began to slowly shift downward as he simultaneously turned his left wrist inward a little.

Well, I’d be damned! His mind isn’t totally gone. He’s alert enough to remember his little Timex has the date on it.

That gave me some comfort. He stated the correct date and we all laughed about his cleverness.

Kristi continued with many more questions. Some he was able to answer. Most he couldn’t.

Kristi then asked the last question: “What would you do if you had a fire in your kitchen?”

He thought for a minute then a sly grin slowly appeared on his face. He stretched out his arm, pointed to me with his shaky finger and proudly announced, “I’d call her.”

Kristi and I laughed, which made Ed laugh, too.



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3 Responses to “Alzheimer’s and Humor: What If You Had a Fire in Your Kitchen?”

  1. Donna from Topeka says:

    Marie, I just loved this story! However, I just read in the book about his second mini mental status exam – when he was demented. What a sad contrast.

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  2. Bill from Boston says:

    That reminds me of a similar exam done with my father. He had the same question about a fire in his kitchen. His answer was equally amusing. He said he’d put it out with wet kleenex!

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  3. Jessica from Kansas City says:

    My mother had a mini mental status exam, also administered by a nursing home director of admissions. Like Ed, she kept looking to me for answers. After I declined to help her on several questions she looked at me and said, “Which one of us is having memory problems?” We all laughed!

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