In desperation, I turned to my friend, Brenda, knowing she kept ammunition with her at all times. "Could I have a piece of gum?" I asked. "Oh, of course!" she replied. After all, what would a pretend gun fight be without sound effects? Rex knows he has a viable opponent should his after dinner gum chewing turn into a shooting match. I attempt to pop my gum in rapid fire, as Rex does. Dad takes immense pleasure in watching these matches while leisurely chewing his gum.
I often greet Brenda's dad, with a pointed finger shaped as a gun, reminiscent of my neighborhood Cowboy and Indians days. Inevitably, I am returned the favor. Often he shakes his head a bit. Yesterday he asked if I was aware I am ornery. Dad has mentioned that a time or two as well, so I suppose there may be some truth to the observation.
These are the Memory Care antics which turn frowns upside down.
This is why I believe it is so important to join these scripts and leave our inhibitions at the door. Diseases of dementia are wrought with heartbreaking absolutes which strip victims of the ability to function. Why not enjoy what these folks can still do and meet them where they are?
These men, who once put their lives on the line to fight for their countries, are now fighting a losing battle for their own lives. This disease, which has stolen our loved ones from us, now holds them captive.The freedoms they once held worthy enough to fight for have been misplaced in a sea of confusion.
I have visited several memory care facilities in recent months as I speak to support groups and advocate for those affected. It is interesting to me that, at a glance, we simply observe a sea of confused faces. However, when I walk into Dad's memory care, my heart swells with love for the precious individuals so familiar. The only difference is I have been afforded time to get to know Dad's neighbors.
We are inclined to have compassion and understanding for those we invest in.
As we approach the 4th of July weekend and prepare to celebrate the many freedoms we are afforded, I am reminded of the brave men and women who fight for these freedoms. Likewise, there are generations of dedicated men and women who fought in wars, sacrificed on the home front, and cared for wounded soldiers. They are now counting on us to come to their defense.
Wherever your loved one is in the disease process, please know there is a living, breathing human being inside; a soul rich with history and personality. Despite the abilities they have lost, I encourage you to focus on and enjoy the abilities which still remain!
Find a stone bench this weekend and make some memories!
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