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Monday, April 29, 2013

Home April 29, 2013

Where is "home?" Where I was born, where my parents bought a house, where I lived while raising my kids, where I live now? Is home where you are loved,as in "where the heart is" or random as in "anywhere I hang my hat?" I know the concept changes. Tonight we took my husband out to a restaurant to eat, as per his specific request. He ate none of his favorite food, claiming not to know what it was. He wanted to go home and when he got there, he happily ate a half of an egg salad sandwich.

While it is definitely true that my husband of all men loves being surrounded by lovely young blond women, his level of comfort in his memory care unit is a huge comfort to me. The evening staff has been increased by students who help with the meal service, getting folks to the table and plating and serving the meals. Three young women and one young man are indeed blond and cheerful, thoroughly enjoying their interaction with the residents.

Bob loves the adults on staff as well, smiling when he sees them, especially when he recognized the familiar faces when we returned from our dinner trip fiasco. The important lesson I learned once again?

When our Alzheimer's diseased loved ones want to "go home" or "get out of here" they are responding with word cliches that indicate their momentary connection to the outside world --either from the past or the present. It is not only not necessary to follow their request, it is often not in their best interest to do so. Just as when raising children, we, as parents, cannot accede to unsafe requests the child makes, we also must use our own judgment with our loved ones with dementia. We must make all of the decisions based on their level of cognitive and physical functioning. My mistake that I make over and over again? I react to my husband's remarks because I begin to feel sorry for him and for myself and I yearn for the same bit of normalcy he does. I imagine we can still have those few lucid moments. The only ones we can have now will take place on the unit where he is safe and he feels secure.

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