The air, a balmy 74 degrees, the first wonderful Arizona day in weeks; we decide to take Bob to the park to feed the ducks. Entering the car easily, we park; he sees the lake and we walk down the embankment. I hand Bob a slice of fresh white bread and he throws small pieces into the water. A crowd of people, ducks and birds surround us; Bob wants to leave. We find a protected iron-fenced patio used by fishermen; standing there Bob feels safe again and happily tosses morsels of bread to the ducks as he eats some, too.
One of the children at the park threw her potato chips to the ducks, another fed the ducks cheerios. Care partners of folks with advanced dementia also have to use fresh duck food; the stale bread my mother saved for ducks won’t work now.
When Steve and I entered the memory care unit Bob was seated in one of the leather chairs as a care worker tossed a soccer-sized Nerf ball to each of several residents. Bob was attentive and focused. He caught the ball each time it was thrown to him and he threw it back, remaining seated for more than ten minutes. Some residents modified the game, throwing the ball to each other, but Bob remained focused on the care worker. It was a pleasure to sit at the sidelines and see him participating happily in an activity.
Bob was definitely out of his comfort zone at the park; he felt much better when we arrived back at his home where he was promptly escorted by another care worker to the dining table for dinner. I value the day we spent together, seeing Bob get fresh air, watching him enjoy feeding the ducks and the birds. I wouldn’t take Bob by myself but thanks to Steve we manage safely.