Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Wanderer

Grace has been using a lot of different names and identities for me. She confuses me with her mother and constantly is asking permission. I really didn’t know her mother very well and I’m not sure whether I’m getting a window into her life, but if I were to get information about her based on Grace’s behavior, she was a dictator.

Another person she calls me is “Ginger.” Ginger was her best friend in high school. In this case she uses the name but treats me as either her mother or as me. She definitely is not treating me as a peer.

She has a new question she asks repeatedly. She asks “Can I go?” At first the caregivers were asking tons of questions.

“Where do you want to go?”
“Do you want to go now?”

And if they didn’t get the information they wanted, they started to play “20 questions.”

“Do you want to go in the kitchen?"
"Do you want to go outside?"
"Do you want to go to the family room?”

This only makes Grace mad. To her, it’s obvious where she wants to go. To her, we are only being difficult and intentionally delaying her from her destination. To her, the plot continues.

So, I just say, “yes.” Fortunately the caregivers have caught on. No questions, no trying to understand too much, just say yes. She is not a wanderer. She is not one of those Alzheimer/dementia patients that you will find wandering down a road. She can’t walk any distance and she can’t operate the door let alone the steps in and out of the house.

Just say “yes.”

She never actually has acted on this. She gets satisfaction knowing that she COULD go….

Wherever that is.