For those who don’t know, after a breakup I moved back in with my parents and my dad has Alzheimer’s/Dementia. I realized a while back that my two sons, though opposites had both in their own way prepared me to deal with my dad as he slowly declines.
E has given me 3 yrs of experience in guessing what someone wants with little or nothing to go on besides context or direction of gaze. Since dad’s short term memory is currently the most affected then I often only have “I need….” or “I’m looking for….” and nothing else to go on. I find that I am usually able to figure out what it is he’s trying to say about 8/10 times, and when his words are all mixed up, able to translate what he means.
From S I have learned how to deal with the irritation and to have patience. I have learned that to push them only makes them more confused and agitated. I have learned to ease into transitions from one activity to the next and to sometimes have to repeat a request several times.
Its interesting to me he even seems to be taking on the autistic’s sense of balance and not liking things to be out of place…he just came to me and asked if I thought the couch cushions needed to be moved…I hadn’t noticed but there are large stripe bands in a few areas and one of the cushions lined up with the band on the couch and two didn’t and it bugged him…he was so happy after he fiddled with them and got them lined up. And once again its something that to me is “normal” because I’ve been dealing with that somewhat OCD type behavior for years.
My boys have taught me, made me a different person…and by doing so have helped me be a better helper both to them and their grandpa.