I’m continually touched by the wonderful comments about My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver and how the book resonates with Alzheimer’s and other dementia caregivers.
Many times, I’m humbled by the stories I hear from those who provide care to a family member. One reader I recently met spoke with great wisdom about how she defused a possible argument with her father, who lives with dementia.
This woman, who is in her 40s, got a call at work one day from her mother. “Come right away,” the mother said, “Dad is very confused and I can’t talk sense to him.” So of course she hurried to her parents’ home.
When she got there, there stood Dad in the living room, extending one arm as though he were casting a fishing line and cranking his other hand as if he were reeling the line back in.
“Whatcha doing, Dad?” the daughter asked.
“Fishing,” he replied.
“Whatcha fishing for?” she asked.
“Walleye,” he replied.
“I love walleye. Can I join you?” she asked.
“Sure,” he replied.
So she stood next to him, pretending to fish and carrying on the kind of gentle conversation that you might expect out on the lake. She had joined her father’s world, rather than expecting him to live in hers.
Her mother, meanwhile, was unable to make the connection. “What should I do if he’s like this again?” she asked.
The daughter had the perfect answer: “Get in the boat with him.”