When I visited my Mom in the nursing home, she often confused me with my Dad or an uncle. Once, she asked, “Are you my son or my brother?”
I replied, “Your son,” and she came back, “Well, could you be my son AND my brother?” Well, why not, I thought.
Another time, I came into the dayroom of her Alzheimer’s ward to find a human circle of sleeping forms in their wheelchairs, and Mom not immediately within sight. I said, “Mom, where are you?” She and all the other women perked up immediately, as if expecting, perhaps longing, to have the company of a loved one.
The men continued to doze.
Please, friends, don’t abandon your loved ones living with Alzheimer’s/dementia because you think they might not recognize you. They think, feel and love like us all. It just may not be apparent at first, but I assure you there is life, love and laughter inside. And it’s in abundance!
–By Ron Cooper
Ron Cooper is the author of “Fran’s Song: My Mother’s Triumph over Alzheimer’s” available on Amazon.com.
So, so true. I see so few visitors on my dad’s memory unit – it’s sad. Of course, maybe the other visitors are there at times I’m not. But it seems like I’d run into them at least occasionally. Even when my dad doesn’t want to talk, I think he likes having someone there, paying specific attention to him (well, I’d be reading a book, but, you know) and answering him when he does speak. Nice post.
Melissa, thanks for your perspective. Visitors were extremely rare in my Mom’s memory unit. I always thought that was so sad when it could have been very different–and better for our loved ones.
When I go visit my mum I always chat to the other residents, some think I’m someone from their family or a friend and I really don’t mind acting like I am, because if it gives them a bit of comfort it’s worth it, of course my mum doesn’t always like it , lol
Elizabeth, I experienced the same thing with my Mom’s fellow residents. I truly believe they yearn for companionship and the human touch, and widen their human circle when a visitor arrives. Thanks for sharing! Say, feel free to hang around my author site a little bit longer. I have a link called “Hear Fran Sing,” my Mom singing her favorite tunes not long before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. After her diagnosis, she continued to play the piano and sing. Music stays rooted in our hearts, no matter what life hands us!
I’ve noticed too that there are very few visitors in the memory care unit. Staff often have me and my pooch interact with other residents when I’m there. It makes me a little uncomfortable, but that’s okay if it makes their day. The staff had my pooch connect with another resident and the look of pure joy on her face made it totally worth it.
Bailey, wow, I love it! My sister often took her therapy dog to my mom’s nursing home. All the residents made over him, some recalling their own pets from childhood. Some were in tears. It was so poignant. Say, feel free to check out on this site, “The Rose.” It’s a chapter from my book about mom’s stay in the Memory Care Unit, called “Fran’s Song: My Mother’s Triumph over Alzheimer’s.” Have a blessed day!