Many dementia care partners have learned that going with the flow works magic: it can turn potential disasters into gales of laughter with very little effort. All it takes is a little bit of imagination. I stumbled on a perfect real life example shared by care partner Catherine Bixenman-salesi. in the online dementia support group USAgainst Alzheimer’s.
Catherine shared the vignette in response to an article on validation that had been posted by group administrator and dementia care author and advisor Carol Bradley Bursack.
Here’s what Catherine had to say:
“My teenaged son often corrects his grandmother, and then suffers the consequences. I, on the other hand, let her stories flow. I also enjoy adding flavour to them. This makes her perk up, and turns her from sad to glad. It also gets her talking, and gesturing with her hands. I help piece the sentences together by filling in every other word, and away we go. Last night, she noticed a commode in her bedroom. She pointed at it and in an angry tone said: ‘Not mine!’ It was a perfect opportunity for some fun.
‘Tell that lazy ass woman to take her belongings with her when she goes,’ I said with a scowl on my face. ‘I have enough work to do here without having to clean up after her!’
Mom burst out laughing. What a joyful sound it was. Of course I laughed too. It seems like a silly thing, but to her it was funny. I could have told her it was hers, which it is, and she would have denied it and become hostile. Instead, I went along with her version of reality. The result? Smiles and laughs all around.”
Kudos to Catherine! I know from my own experience that this, and other imrov techniques really works a treat. I talk about in the video clip here, and in my BANGS model here. If you haven’t tried “going with the flow,” I highly recommend you do so. Your stress level will drop and your relationship with your care partner will improve.
If you have tried going with the flow and have similar stories to share, I’d love to hear them.