Dad has renewed energy and the wheelchair has been traded in for his "Cadillac". This mode of transportation (the walker) is popular among many of the residents, giving them just enough balance and stability to safely maneuver around. I'm so thankful for another day of my 6'2" daddy back on his feet.
Despite his height, Dad's title of tallest resident has now been snatched by a new gentleman who is proud to announce his 6'4" status. Today I took a lucky guess and discovered he was a basketball player. Another resident was quick to inform us of his skills at the game, as well as his position in baseball. Soon we had several potential players.
The obvious captain of the basketball team exuberantly suggested we form a team. Other prominent residents include the tenor from the Silver Fox Quartet, an artist, Command Sergeant General of the United States Army, a musician, and a beloved apartment landlord. That would be my dad.
I mentioned this in Stone Benches, along with the fact we, without fail, had to stop by the apartments on our way out of town when I was a child. I wrote: "I often wondered what was so important that this delay to Grandma’s was so necessary. I have since found out."
With Dad back on his feet, he wanted to take the long way back to the house today. This consisted of walking around the kitchen to get back to his room. I know why he does this, whether he is consciously aware or not - it leads right by the manager's office.
This is the room the Marketing Director of Memory Care inhabits. The familiarity of the desk, files, and folks frequenting this door inevitably draws Dad's attention. Even when the door is shut, he will try the handle. On a good day, he goes in to take a seat at the table. The "manager" visits with him and my dad is insured a treat or cold drink.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist, knowing his past, to understand Dad is checking in on the manager when he does this. Perhaps it is the first of the month and he is picking up rent checks, or discussing maintenance requests. Obviously some folks have moved in recently - everyone has noticed this. It is not necessary for Dad to utter a single word to know he is taking care of business.
This is the reason he, without fail, will veer into empty rooms. Doesn't every landlord inspect apartments to insure they are ready to rent? Door handles are wiggled, closets opened, and the place is given a good looking over. "Is it ready to rent?" I will ask. A favorite response is, "It will do."
Too often we pigeonhole these folks into a set routine and overlook the fact they are creative, curious, talented human beings. It is necessary to tap into their past interests to bring their unique and wonderful personalities to the surface. It also requires time and understanding. I cherish these detours which could easily be classified as an irritation.
Alzheimer's disease is a mysterious and tangled web of often broken connections. We are not given a script with the diagnosis - it is revealed in hidden treasured moments each day. These connections are not always easy to understand, but when we make the effort - often they are clearly significant.
Take the time today to discover who might be interested in forming a fictional basketball team, let your loved one lead the way or write the agenda for a change - or simply turn on music they would enjoy and watch the expressions in the room transform. Make today a great day and don't forget to inspect some apartments along the way!
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