"Memories, what's to painful to remember we simply choose to forget"..... The Way We Were...Barbra Streisand
O.K., how many of my readers are taking care of elderly parents who behave at times as if their batteries are not fully charged? I don't mean to be rude or crass, but sometimes having a sense of humor is helpful when you are dealing with older adults who appear at times to be turning their dementia on and off. I'm sure a few Gerontology professionals would chime in here and point out that "a mind is a terrible thing to lose" and a matter that is nothing to jest about.
Memory Loss Is Not A Rock Solid Condition
But, I have noticed that when memory loss and other signs of early dementia show up in a family member ...the picture that you see is not always as it appears on first glance. There is you see, a psychological component.
For years, my sister has been telling me that dad has "selective dementia" . She has been trying to convince me that dad's memory loss varies with what's he wants to remember and more importantly, what he want to accomplish (or not sccomplish). In essence, our dad she says, is much more capable of remembering and functioning normally at times than he leads others to believe. My sister says dad is a character...and I AGREE !
The retired therapist in me, used to believe that my sister who cared for dad before me, was in denial and that surely someone like dad, would not be able to turn on and off their memory symptoms. Well, attention readers...dad is now living near me and I can tell you that dad willfully chooses to forget plenty, especially when it comes to eating whatever he feels like and whatever he is told he should not eat. I shall demonstrate what I have in mind.
Pickles And Pastrami
When I asked my father why he continues to eat potato chips, pickles and Pastrami when he has hypertension and he has been told over and over to lose the deli habit, he replies "oh I forgot".
Chocolate Donuts And Diabetes
When I ask my 86 year old dad who has Diabetes why he has bought yet another box of chocolate donuts, he responds innocently "no one ever told me I have Diabetes" (he takes 11 different medications for all sorts of conditions). When I ask dad why he isn't using the $80.00 T.V. ears I bought him to help him hear better and keep the sound in the apartment down to a quieter roar he ignores me.
Eating Steak With No Teeth
Every so often dad tells his aide that he would sure love a nice juicy steak for dinner. He convinces her each time to fix him one, giving her a series of sad sack stories he rotates as to why he needs a steak. Mind you, dad has no teeth to chew the steak, complains of jaw pain, has a lousy history of heart disease and has a limited budget for steak. The last time he pulled the steak ploy he told his aide that he hasn't had a steak in 10 years so she bought him a steak and he somehow ate it. A week later, I was out food shopping and I called dad and asked him if he needs anything at the butcher? Dad says, "yeah , bring me home a steak, I haven't had one in years"!
Yes....... not all forgetting is dementia!
To read more on taking care of older adults visit: http://cdiannezweig.blogspot.com/search/label/older%20adults
If you need help regarding Senior Care Services and Eldercare contact my friend Sheri Morris MSW, ACSW, LCSW a very experienced Geriatric Social Worker. Her website is My Senior Care Connection.
Readers please share your stories.....we all need a good laugh.
Pastrami image from http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/10/joseph-leonard-gastropub-review-manhattan-west-greenwich-village-nyc.html
C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of I Antique Online an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro café. To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Visit my website, CDianneZweig.com Dianne is a member of: The American Society of Journalists and Authors The Society of Professional Journalists