Everybody has a story. When you walk around this world and tell people you teach about dementia and started a dementia simulation house, everybody has a story. And it’s my job to listen. It’s a parent living with dementia who wandered away from home for two days before being found in a park. A nursing home that treated a loved one poorly. A neighbor who … Continue reading Dementia at the Wedding Reception, the Winery, and the Martini Bar
Dear Friends, This is the closest thing to a Christmas letter I will write this year, and it is to those of you who live with dementia and those of you who are caregivers. First of all, it doesn’t matter to me what you celebrate. Hanukkah. (Obviously I don’t celebrate Hanukkah because I looked up how to spell it and it still doesn’t look quite … Continue reading Dr. Eshbaugh’s Christmas Letter (aka Give Yourself a Break and Change Your Expectations)
Caregiving is hard. You are not stressed because you need a nightly bubble bath and a yoga class. You are stressed because caregiving is hard. Continue reading Caregiving is Hard Because It’s Hard
This is the fifth of a series of five posts about the senses in Dementialand. Today we focus on sight. An entire book could be written about how dementia changes how an individual sees the world. I want to stress that dementia itself does nothing to impair the eyes. Dementia, however, does make it more difficult for the brain to interpret what the eyes see. It … Continue reading What You See in Dementialand
I know a man who accused his wife of cheating because this old guy showed up in their bedroom at night. I recently talked to the daughter of a man who refuses to take showers because he is sick of a creepy dude watching him. A woman at a local nursing home thinks that the woman in the mirror is actually the woman in the next room, and she keeps telling that woman to find a hobby instead of sitting there all day. And I know multiple individuals with dementia who have told family members that people are breaking into their homes. A few have even called the police. Continue reading Mirrors, Strangers, and Friends in Dementialand
A friend of mine, who is engaged to be married, once referred to conversations with her future mother-in-law as games of Whack-A-Mole. I remember being a huge Whack-A-Mole fan when I’d visit Chuck E. Cheese as a kid. Little toy moles would pop up in random patterns and I’d have to respond by hitting them with a mallot. My friend considered her future mother-in-law’s questions … Continue reading Whack-A-Mole and Tongues in Dementialand
As a kid, I thought Christmas would never come. I’d want something–a toy, a musical instrument, a jersey (because that’s all I wore when I was a kid)–and my parents would tell me I could have it for Christmas. Yet Christmas was an eternity away. And by an eternity, I mean about four months. My birthday was the same way. I was five and wanted … Continue reading Toilet Paper in Dementialand (aka Why Christmas Comes Faster Each Year)
History wasn’t my favorite class in school. In fact, that’s a grand understatement. History was probably my least favorite class in school. (I’m kind of lying. Chemistry was actually my least favorite subject but I don’t often mention this because my dad was a chemical engineer and my apathy toward chemistry repeatedly breaks his heart.) My feelings about chemistry aside, I was not a fan of … Continue reading History Lessons from Dementialand (Or How I Learned to Love History)
Sometimes I get on a streak where I write sad posts, and I’ve been on one of those streaks lately. To Dana and Sarah…I’m sorry I made you guys cry at work. I promised myself that today I would write something happier–at least less sad. So here goes… I used to visit a particular nursing home quite frequently. I’d see a couple sitting by the … Continue reading The Awesome People I Meet in Dementialand
In one breath, she tells me that she’s ready for him to go. In the next breath, she says that she’ll never be ready for him to go. Then she tells me that he’s already gone.
That’s what Alzheimer’s does.
Continue reading Taking John Home to Die in Dementialand