Friday, July 8, 2011

Adventures in America, Summer 2011, #6, You Need a Sense of Humor

I'm in Arizona being hosted by my sister and her family and will spend Shabbat with a friend.  We visited my parents who are in an "old age place" in Scottsdale.  The place was started as an "independent living" facility with a few "assisted living" contracts.  They've expanded the assisted percentage, so there's a bit of a traffic jam during mealtimes from all the walkers and wheelchairs.

Those who function without help keep away and sit at separate tables if they are taking meals.  They know that at least if their minds begin to go, they won't be thrown out. 

My parents each suffer different versions of dementia.  There seem to be lots of versions, variations, more than colors in the rainbow.  They've made a friend there, a woman who lives on her own, propels herself around with the help of a walker.  She considers herself very independent.  All of the bus drivers in the area know her and where she must get off. The guy who brought my father is night meds told us that he used to work on the bus.  They didn't let her off at the mall. She's very friendly with a very poor short-term memory.  I was introduced to her numerous times, and she kept forgetting who I am.

She has latched herself onto my parents, since they like company, and she loves to be with people.  My father doesn't seem to notice or mind the repitition and my mother loves the compliments and attention.  My sister has known her for months now.  While we were visiting my sister was taking care of some things for our parents and saw her in the lobby.  The woman began a conversation, and my sister tried to explain that she had to get to her parents and suggested that the friend come along.

"But I don't think I've met your parents."

No surprise that she didn't remember who I am when she couldn't remember my sister.

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