Dorothy’s Dementia

Dorothy still has the knowhow to not complain when the grandboys are with me. I always give her fair warning when she answers and I tell her “I’m with the guys “ then I  put her on speaker phone – the boys and I will all answer “hello Grams” together. Her tone is lighter and calmer when she talks to them and she never starts into her song.  Instead she wants to know what the boys are up to (I must say, they do a great job of responding to her) and asks them questions about their day and how they are. 

The guys asked me a few times in the beginning why Grams keeps asking the same questions over and over.  I explained to them that her brain is sick, and she doesn’t remember things as well as we do.  They are satisfied with that explanation and they have accepted that this is just how Grams is- it doesn’t bother them.  Children are so accepting and innocent and loving- we can (re)learn things from children- at least until they are about 10- after that- they start to lose their innocence and a portion of their trust with the adults.  Until then- they accept people and situations as they are- sometimes they understand, sometimes they don’t, but they don’t judge or let it bother them.  They are too busy being little.

It’s interesting to me that she still has the presence of mind to not “sing her song” in front of “the children”.  How can she be aware in that moment?  and be calm and sweet??  And when she calls me she just starts singing?  Is it because she is suffering, and she wants me to suffer too?  Or maybe she just wants me to feel guilty.   I can remember her telling me back in the day- when she worked with folks like she is now- that she would see the residents do just that- make the family feel guilty.  Play on their emotions.  This is so interesting to me.  Why do we want to make our loved ones feel guilty?  Is it “payback”? is it not intentional? Is it intentional?   Will we ever know?

After a few minutes of visiting on the phone with the guys- she will tell me to call her back when I get the chance- she has something important she need to talk to me about- she needs my help with something.

To be honest if she doesn’t call me back – I do not call her. I wait- I know that she will be calling me.  The phrase “Let sleeping dogs, babies and dementia folks lie” is true.   Enjoy the peace. 

I think not understanding/accepting- the scratched record that your demented person has puts a wedge between you and them and you and your siblings.  If we can come to an understanding and accept this reality that they will never be like they were – we are more likely to be able to “let it be” let them be who they are.  This will make our journey with them calmer.  

Remember- they are always going to be forgetful, repetitive, questionable, irritable, scared and of course confused.  Find a way to help them -in any way you can. 

If your loved one is like Dorothy and you have some little people around- keep them connected with each other. I think it benefits everyone- and it will give you a little break every once in a while.

Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen

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