Friday, June 12, 2009

Conversational Challenges

Talking with someone who has Alzheimer's disease can be a challenge. For example, here is an exchange that took place between my mother and me today:

(I hear Mom sneezing and open her apartment door)
Me: (Cheerfully) I hear someone sneezing in here!
Mom: (Indignantly) Well, it's cold in here.
Me: (Somewhat taken aback) No, I just meant, I heard you sneezing...
Mom: Well, it's cold.
Me: (Trying to change the subject) I've just always thought its cute the way you sneeze, with that little scream at the end, and now I have unintentionally started sneezing the same way.
Mom: (Huffy) Well I don't do it on purpose.
Me: (trying to make peace) I'll adjust the air conditioner to make it warmer.
Mom: (Dismissing me) I'm not cold. (Returns to reading her book.)

Now, two things should be apparent from this entry: 1) Caregivers must keep a sense of humor, and 2) Caregivers must not hold Alzheimer's patients accountable for the rules of polite conversational interchanges that govern the rest of the world.

In other words, don't hold an Alzheimer's patient responsible for behaviors she can't help.

Easier said than done, but this time I think I managed.

1 comment:

  1. So I am still teary from reading the previous post and then, I go to this one and just smile, laugh, and shake my head in agreement. Yup - us caregivers definately need to keep a sense of humor intact and blur the line on some of those social/conversational rules a bit,too (for those we're caring for I mean, not ourselves - though it is tempting LOL).