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Just thinking that with all of the horrific things we see and experience as caregivers it might be nice to share moments of joy here. Can you share a story of joy, happiness, laughter….?
Today I moved a load of things into my mom’s MC apartment. As we got to her apartment just outside of her door there was an old man in a wheelchair. He asked me where the bathroom was and told me that after he found the bathroom he would come back to wait for the bus. We dropped some things off in her apartment and then went back out to the car to grab some more things. When we came back in, the door to her apartment was open. He had wheeled himself into her apartment. I knelt down and asked his name. He proceeded to search in his pocket (he had no pocket) for a quarter. Then he acted so surprised. He said he had gone and gotten new slacks today ( he was wearing sweatpants) and he must have left his change in his other pockets. I asked if I could help get him home and he let me push his chair out the door. As we went out the door he must have thought he was on the bus and he asked if he could just pay me back later.
The whole time he had a lap full of raisins that he was eating on. This just makes me giggle. He was adorable. As awful as this all is I hope to continue to be grateful for any moment of joy along the journey.
My mom always tells me what a blessing this dementia is because it brought her out to be with me and my family. If she can find a blessing in her diagnosis I can be grateful for any moment of peace, joy, laughter, camaraderie, etc.
Thank you for sharing such a nice story while in the middle of moving your mom.
I have a little story from this morning. I was sitting at the kitchen table with my mom who was eating a bagel with apple butter that was cut into eight pieces. She was the only one eating since I had already ate. Usually my sister sits with her but she was running behind so I did it this morning. My mom noticed that I didn't have anything to eat so she slid her plate over and asked if I wanted any. I only took one but gave her a hearty thanks. I'm so glad that she's still wanting to share with others.
We have so many sweet stories from my FIL’s MC stay! One was we were sitting in the commons area with all the residents and half were dozing, the other half were working on activities. Some how the topic of dancing came up and all of them piped up, those sleeping woke up, and they had stories about dancing. One of them said they needed to have a dance contest, stood up and started dancing with one of thr nurses, and another one started singing. It was awesome…
Another sweet one was this lady who was professionally dressed stopped us and asked us if we needed help. She showed us where things were and to let her know if we needed anything. Then we noticed her arranging activities on the table and told us she was about to start a new activity with the group. So, we thought she worked there, until we saw one of the caregivers redirect her.
My FIL’s neighbor knocked on his door every morning and walked with him to breakfast (well, FIL walked, the neighbor was in a wheelchair). That was his breakfast/coffee buddy
Another sweet thing I saw at MC was a man who lived in the independent living wing of the facility, eat meals with his wife who resided in MC and walk with her every day. They were so sweet together.
That has made me hope that if my DH and I ever face this in one of us, we would have the resources to do the same.
Will add a couple stories since it lifts us up
My mom has been in AL / MC for 3 months ( can’t believe it’s been that long) and although she had some bumps has settled in very well. At first she “didn’t like” some folks - including one man who always seemed to complain. They now are besties and she introduces him to me as a wonderful nice man There is even a bit of flirting going on. I cannot emphasize how different things are. She has friends and gets invited to the “cool kids table” but the sweet thing is she is kind to everyone and will help others but then make an excuse so “she can get away”. It reminds me of middle school ( or maybe the playground” and she is navigating the personalities, looking out for others further along but then being human and wanting a break
She also has worn a baseball hat for last few years as she has very thin hair and is very self conscious. A friend got her to take it off and another nice man told her he had never seen her without the hat and that she was beautiful. I am hoping that she remembers that and feels comfortable without it. I love hearing about her interactions from her visitors. The nice stories keep us going
There are a few - mostly involving staff.
Peggy's memory care is blessed with some truly exceptional staff members. It doesn't matter when I walk in, but I always see staff helping residents, bringing them snacks, taking them to the restrooms, all the while saying things like "come this way, sweetie", and smiling as they do it. I know part of this is their job, but rarely, rarely do I ever see exasperation or frustration.
Staff are incredibly nice to Peggy. There's one staff member who always does Peggy's hair. She doesn't have to do this, but she does, and Peggy's hair usually ends up in elaborate braids, buns, or pony tails. Peggy loves this.
A different staff member makes sure that Peggy can occasionally watch Walking Dead. Of course Peggy can't follow the plot anymore, but she still remembers that she liked the show. This staff member will occasionally use her own netflix account and turn on a random episode for Peggy (in Peggy's room where she has a tv, but away from other residents who probably wouldn't enjoy watching the mayhem of the zombie apocalypse.) That's over and above in my books.
Good hair days as the norm and zombies are not exactly what I think of when I think of memory care.
My wife is one of the minority who knows she has dementia. When I put her to bed, she usually says she loves me or says "Thank you for taking care of me" or says "I'm so glad I have someone who takes care of me, because I'd be up the creek without it."