Friday, January 3, 2014

A Cup of Coffee Please

Would you get me a couple coffee with cream and sugar please?

A very simple request. One that many of us have made over and over. But what does this mean to a dementia patient?

First, we have to go to the kitchen, providing we remember where the kitchen is. Then we have to remember what we are there for.

Now, we have to get a cup out of the cubbord. If we remember where the cups are. After getting the cup, what is the cup for?

Now comes the time panic sets in. We have no idea what the cup is for, if by chance we even found one. We stand there in the middle of the kitchen, with the deer in the headlight look.

Having no idea what to do with this cup. We can't put it back, we don't know where it goes. Some will just carry it with them. Some will set down. Some will just stand there.

And we haven't even gotten to the coffee or the cream and sugar yet. What this is, is a perfect example of compound directions.

You have asked a person with dementia to preform what you would consider a simple task that has several parts to it. People who do not have dementia can do these things by just sheer habit.

You need to keep in mind, a dementia patient may have trouble finding the kitchen, let alone the cups, the coffee, the cream and sugar.

Our brain no longer enables us to do tasks, even the simplest of ones. I find myself in the kitchen on more than one occasion with a pillow from the couch in my arms.

There have been times when I am in our spare bedroom looking for something that is in the bathroom. Or in the bathroom, looking for my car keys.

It's a constant battle with memory loss. And we lose our short term memory first. My short term memory has been long gone. If I remember something, anything that has happened over ten minutes or so ago, it's by luck.

People must realize we are not the same. There is so much more to this disease than just memory loss. Though memory loss is a huge part of dementia, we also have to trust everyone we come in contact with on a daily basis.

That alone breaks you down. I can't make decisions. And if I would, they would be just guesses on my part. I don't want anything to do with a decision making role.

I have to trust that my best interests are being met. By everyone I come in contact with. Some people forget this, I can not. It's with you constantly. Not being able to make the simplest of decisions, and having to to rely on people around you for guidance.

Even if they don't know that you are...