Care partners often trade amusing stories of the zany adventures they have with their care partners who live with dementia. Not to laugh at them, but to laugh at the funny side of living what is often a kind of crazy roller coaster existence. If you didn’t laugh, you’d cry.
Here’s a story of my own, followed by that of online friend on the same theme.
I was at a point in my caregiving journey where I really needed more respite. I had been living with Mom in her house, out in the country, eight miles from the nearest town, for about eight months. I had great support during the week, but it was difficult to find “companions” to come and be with her for a couple of hours on weekends. I finally found someone who said she had loads of experience dealing with people who live with dementia. “You’re in!” I said.
On the first Saturday of her employment, the new caregiver charged in like a bull in a china shop. Mom’s eyes were as wide as saucers. I knew in nanoseconds that it wouldn’t work out, but I was desperate to have some “alone time,” so I escaped for three hours, leaving them to their own devices.
“All good,” the caregiver said upon my return. “It went super well.” I was sceptical. Nevertheless, I asked her to come back three weeks later.
When she arrived at the appointed time three Saturdays later, I again felt uncomfortable with her overall demeanour, but again, I needed to get away. So I left Mom and her sitting on the back deck having tea, and scooted off to the library “in town.” About 45 minutes later, my cell phone rang – the new caregiver.
“I’m in the backyard,” she said.
“That’s nice,” I replied.
“Not really,” she said. “Your mother locked me out of the house.”
Ah. Mom. Always clear on whom she liked and whom she didn’t – dementia or not!
C.B. responded with this:
Mom locks me out too. One time it was winter, we’d just had about a foot of snow. I went out to take the dog for a quick walk – didn’t bother to put my coat or boots on, walked out in my shirt and slippers.
As I’m headed back to house, I notice the lights are all off. Mom had locked the door. It was midnight. I banged on the door and gently called her “Open up, Mom. It’s me. Mom?” Not a peep from inside.
I hadn’t shovelled the way to the side gait, so I couldn’t open it. I had to use my bare hands to clear the snow away. Once I finally got in through the back door, I found Mom eating ice cream at the kitchen table.
“Mom,” I said, “you locked me out. Didn’t you not hear me knocking, and calling?”
“Oh, was that you?” she said.
Now when I walk the dog, I always make sure to take my keys and my cell phone.
Do YOU have a funny story to share? Feel free to do so in the comments 🙂