Patient, polite, sense of humor. The mantra for those of us who are now “visitors” in our loved one’s new home, the nursing home.
Dementia patients wander. They can’t go far and don’t have access to the stairwell or elevators, but they cruise up and down the hallways. And, because they have dementia, they often don’t remember where they are or which room is theirs. That results in their going in and out of each other’s rooms thinking it’s theirs. Sometimes they leave someone else’s room with some of that person’s possessions, but that’s a blog for another day.
One dear lady came into my husband’s room while we were concentrating on getting a CD into his boom box. I saw her out of the corner of my eye as she came in, curled right up on his bed and looked as if she was ready for her nap. How am I going to handle this, I asked myself.
I approached her and gently touched her shoulder. She looked up and said, “This is my bed.” “No dear,” I said, pointing to my husband. “This is not your bed. This is his bed.” Again she told me it was her bed. So I repeated myself, telling her it was not her bed, but I was going to help her find her bed. I took here by the hand and she complied. So, we walked out of his room together in search of her room. I had no idea which one it was. Fortunately one of the aids was coming down the hall and took over. Whew. I need to learn more about whose room is whose so I can help them get back home if necessary.
As far as I know, my husband does not randomly visit other rooms. Chances are he will, and when he does I hope some patient person will escort him back to his room.
With love and hope,