For a little walk on the light side of Alzhiemer’s, I’m posting amusing stories about dementia patients every Saturday. Here’s this week’s story by Carole Larkin:
Pretty early on my mom’s frontal lobe was impacted and she lost the filter we all have that prevents us from saying what we are thinking. When she was at the assisted living community in Dallas and I’d visit her (2-3 times a week), every time she would introduce me to her friends as if this was the first time they were meeting me. Some of her friends were not cognitively impaired, so they and I played along. She would tell them all my name, that I was
born on Christmas day (which was true!) and how old I was. It was always in that order; it never varied.
Early on I had tried to have my mother just tell people that I was her daughter, and that I was born on Christmas day, but to leave off how old I was. She readily agreed, but when I was introduced she automatically went on to tell them all three things. Realizing that I was stuck with the telling of my age to all the people she knew, and all the people she didn’t know in the world, I had to say something to get her off the subject of my age.
I came up with, “but Mom, I’m still really young!”
Mom would look at me with surprise and say “No you’re not”.
Then I’d say, “Well I am when I hang around with 80 and 90 year olds!”
Then all of us would laugh. That was our routine.
Then one day, after I finished saying “Well I am when I hang around with 80 and 90 year olds!” Mom said, “Me too. I’m a lot younger than all these old people around here!”
She was 84 at the time. I laughed and laughed at that comment. And eventually she and all her friends were laughing with me. That was a great memory I’ll always carry of my mom.
Carole Larkin MAG, CMC, CAEd, QDCS, EICS is a geriatric care manager who specializes in helping families with Alzheimer’s and related dementias issues. She also trains caregivers in home care companies, assisted livings, memory care communities, and nursing homes in dementia specific techniques for best care of dementia sufferers. Her company, ThirdAge Services LLC, serves the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. She can be reached at 214-649-1392 or firstname.lastname@example.org.