Friday, August 20, 2010

Overheard

A few tidbits I overhead at the old folks' home yesterday:

==================================================

Resident 1 is walking through the lobby and passes Resident 2 who has her sweater over the arm of the chair in which she is sitting.

Resident 1 (Severe Dementia): [Reaching towards Resident 2's sweater.] Is that my sweater?

Resident 2 (Mild Dementia): [Brushing Resident 1's hand away.] No. It's mine.

Resident 1 continues walking down the hall.

==================================================

Aide 1 goes to take Resident 3 to the bathroom, who resists, causing Aide 1 to take her by the elbow to guide her.

Resident 3 (Moderate Dementia): What're ya doin', ya damn fool!

==================================================

Ten minutes later, Resident 1 makes another lap on her wandering walk...

Resident 1: [Reaching towards Resident 2's sweater.] Is that my sweater?

Resident 2: [Brushing Resident 1's hand away.] No. It's mine.

Resident 1 continues walking down the hall.

==================================================

Aide 1 wheels Resident 4 into the lobby and parks her wheel chair by the nurse's station.

Aide 1: [In a cheery voice.] There ya go!

Resident 4 (Moderate Dementia): Rotten old bitch.

==================================================

Ten minutes later, Resident 1 makes another lap on her wandering walk...

Resident 1: [Reaching towards Resident 2's sweater.] Is that my sweater?

Resident 2: [Brushing Resident 1's hand away.] No! It's mine! Now move along!

Resident 1: Well you don't have to be so nasty about it.

Resident 1 continues walking down the hall.

==================================================

Resident 5 is talking with Resident 6.

Resident 5 (Moderate Dementia): Sometimes I just want to go home and die.

Resident 6 (No Dementia): I know.

==================================================

Ten minutes later, Resident 1 makes another lap on her wandering walk...

Resident 1: [Reaching towards Resident 2's sweater.] Is that my sweater?

Resident 2: [Brushing Resident 1's hand away.] No! It's mine! I've told you that before!

Resident 1: I know. Sheesh.

Resident 1 continues walking down the hall.

3 comments:

Greg said...

"Sheeesh" indeed.

Whenever someone asks me what it's like in the Care Home I tend to describe it as a school playground: with similar friends and enemies, bullies and sweethearts. We tend to look back on our childhoods with rose-tinted spectacles, but I remember how the playground could be a war zone at times.

What always amazes me is how each resident tends to focus only on themselves or whoever or whatever is immediately in front of them. They tend to discount the more freaky behaviour that goes on around them if it doesn't fit in with the storyline they're living. I see stuff going on that would make me unhappy, but Mum doesn't raise an eyebrow.

Nancy said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry! I can laugh because I've been there with my mom and know how these things go. But I can cry too, with resident 4 & 5's conversation. You could publish that blog post as an example of the reality living in a care facility!

Y | O | Y said...

As I sat watching and listening, I started to jot down the dialogue in the margins of my crossword puzzle. It is a snapshot of what goes on constantly...confusion and despair. I feel most sorry for the folks that don't have any dementia at all.

By the end of the resident 1/2 interaction, I think that resident 1 knew on some level it wasn't her sweater but just couldn't resist the impulse to reach for it anyway.

BTW, for future comment readers, Nancy (above) mentions the story of resident 4 & 5. I realized I'd made a numbering mistake and they are now resident 5 & 6 in the post.