Visiting with my husband today reminded me about one of the main rules of caregiving: let the patient lead whenever possible even with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease. For example: I arrived at the unit and slowly walked to where my husband was sitting at a dining table, seemingly staring into space. I said nothing at first, just sat down next to him. When he turned his head and saw me, he immediately stood up, held out his arms for a hug and a kiss, made some incomprehensible sounds and said, “Let’s get out of here,” which is a sentence I have heard often.
I agreed and stood up. After standing a few minutes, my husband asked me if I would like to sit down and talk for a few minutes. We sat back down in the same chairs. A few minutes later, Bob said, “Let’s go for a walk.” We stood up and walked outside the front of the building. After 50 yards, he said, “Let’s turn around.” It was a bit windy.We sat on the porch for a short while, but the sun was too strong. Then he wanted to go inside, claiming a need to use the bathroom. Entering the unit again, he forgot about his goal until we walked around the back yard several times; then Bob wanted to go inside his room.
He did use the bathroom on his own, but wanted to return to the people in the main room soon thereafter. When it was time for dinner a care worker escorted him to the table and I left.
Perhaps this was an uninteresting visit for me, but it was a quite satisfactory day for my husband as he felt in charge of everything we did.