Things you and I take for granted are sometimes hard to grasp for a person with dementia. Take this story, “Making sense of time” shared in Finding the JOY in Alzheimer’s.
A month before my father, Martin’s, ninetieth birthday, my husband David and I had the following conversation with him. By this time, he was living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Martin: “What time is it?”
My father appears to be thinking as he looks at me without saying a word.
David takes off his watch to show my father.
Martin tilts his head to focus on David’s watch. David confirms the time: “See, it’s 11:40!”
Martin: “Looks good enough to eat … and then pass through and get rid of.”
David tries to humor my father, and puts the watch in his mouth. Pulling it out, he asks, “Why would I want to eat my watch?”
Such are the JOYS of caring for a loved one with dementia. We had a choice–we could mourn the loss of my father’s abilities or we could celebrate the humor in the smallest things. My father preferred to find the JOY and so did we. It made life as a caregiver much easier.