Sometimes I get happy at the strangest moments. Today at lunch, my aunt's eyes were filled with tears because behind me someone on the Alz. Unit had messed in the dining room floor. Shortly thereafter, another elderly gentleman decided to streak around the unit.
My mother tried to understand the meaning of the word haiku and she thought Uncle John was babbling when in fact he made perfect sense and was doing wordplay off the word thank you....
But, I was holding my Uncle's hand, and the three siblings were together, despite the rather absurd circumstances. And I got a big dose of energy and a "well done" feeling from the Universe because my brave little band of old folks did not let old age or dementia keep us from this gathering.
And, I also really got it that I don't have to "shelter" Mom and my Aunt from John's dementia-they can go visit or not, but my job is to facilitate, hug when one of them needs it, and that is it. I cannot save them from old age and death. Which is, believe it or not, what I've been trying to do.
This was the testing of an idea I had a few days ago-that maybe the best way to relate to older folks is with energy and few words...much like I do with the dogs. Because-with the elderly, words get a little jumbled and cause frustration. I may be on to something.
And equally exciting, is how that makes me feel-happy, connected, like after a good dog training session. I'm really looking forward to bringing the dogs to the unit-because I understand now how/why they connect and what true good it does for those people. And my hope is, the little old people and the dogs will teach me to speak the same language they do.