Friday was my second day at my new job. The morning was going well and after lunch I met some new residents. These residents suffer from Dementia. Having lost my grandparents when I was in high school and both my parents this was something that I had never experienced. I have to admit that it was a little emotional for me. I was told that everyone there had some type of Dementia but you wouldn’t have thought so talking with them.
We did some trivia and listened to Christmas music. Some of them were pretty good at the trivia and answered most of the questions. They loved the music and would sing along but then I noticed that one of the residents kept asking the same question every 2-5 minutes. She kept asking when her son was going to call and stop by. She did this for an hour. Yet she would continue to hold a normal conversation with us and while she was knitting. When we talked about my daughter she told me how she loved the age of three, how much fun it is and to cherish every moment. Some residents would just sit there and you hoped they were enjoying the music, some seemed like they were sleeping and some would chat with us. We played music from the 40’s-60’s and they knew the music and the artist. Someone came in with a little puppy and one of the ladies got really excited. She loves puppies. Ten minutes later she saw them down the hall and squealed about seeing a puppy and went to go see it again. The residents had long term memory but seemed to suffer from short term memory.
I’m not sure what made me so emotional. I couldn’t stop tearing up yet my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. Perhaps it was the blessing of not having to experience that with my parents and grandparents. It was a realization of knowing that I don’t ever want to get to that stage and pray that I don’t. Yet every one of them there were so loving and seemed content to be there singing, joking, knitting and being with friends. That was the part that kept me smiling.
Suffering from Dementia doesn’t seem to affect them at all. They are the same person they have always been but we are the ones seeing them differently, perhaps feeling sorry for us because they may not remember who we are. Living with a lifetime of memories and happiness yet they may not have any recollection at all. I think that may have been the hardest part for me but I’m not really sure.
I can’t imagine how family members feel when seeing their loved ones like that but I can say that I felt really blessed to be there with them.