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Saturday, March 23, 2019

A Good Valentines Day in DementiaLand

  It had been most recent Valentines day and I had been invited to  lunch and a party with music, with my special Valentine. When I got there Barb had a new friend to go along with Nancy who held hands, on a regular basis, with Barb who reassured her when  Nancy cries that everything was going to be all right. She also promised to be the matron of honor for another somewhat confused lady who believed she was going to be married at the end of the week. Naturally, Barb volunteered to be her matron of honor.  All of us sat together for Valentines lunch at a big table after I cleared with the authorities that this was okay and seemed no danger to anyone. I also consulted with the pianist who was providing the music and asked if she could play some slow music after lunch, preferably waltzes, so Barb and I could dance. All I could think of was the Tennessee waltz. In the meantime, the pianist was playing golden oldies from the 50s.  My lunch group along with others at other tables seemed to be having a good time and I encouraged my group to guess the songs which were golden oldies and we played guess the name of the song and the singer. All the people with dementia beat me soundly in that game. Some bad jokes on my part, more fun and  then I told them Barb and I were going to dance. And so we did. Alone at first and then several other "mixed"married couples(caretaker and resident) joined us. Finally,  some of the aides began rounding up people from other areas in wheelchairs and brought them to join  the dance party.  Here they held hands h with those in wheelchairs and they danced also. Towards the end as some of the smiling laughing people began to sit down from exhaustion, one of the big shots showed up with the camera and took pictures of the  crowd. Later, I asked for copies and told them with their permission I might advertise their wonderful institution by putting those pictures on my blog. Unfortunately, because this facility is part of a giant corporation they have lawyers, there are some "privacy"issues involved in that . So eventually, I expect to get an edited picture of me and my beloved dancing through the night at our best Valentines day ever, and they will be posted on this very same blog :-) Ray


Finally, I had to deal with one difficult problem. Saying goodbye to Barb. The problem is easy to explain. When I arrive I get hugs and kisses. When I leave I have two choices. The first is to bring Barb home with me. The second is to shack up with her and move in to memory care. The solution requires teamwork on the part of the staff and me heading home without being seen. Today it all worked well and when I called back Barb was still happy, contented in her new apartment and doing just fine. A really good day in dementia land for Barb and me as well.


Joanne Noragon said...

I think about treading softly on egg shells. Thank you for loving Barb forever.

Anvilcloud said...

Aww. This must be so hard for you, but you are handling it so well.

It seems that music often brings them back or at least close to it. I once saw a clip of a very old dementia patient who hadn't responded in years. But then she revived enough to respond to a song.

Larry said...

I can relate to this post as I've been helping to care with a family member 7 days a week for the last 2 is a bittersweet experience.