Monday, March 23, 2015


Family members, naturally, are reluctant to move their Confused Person onto the locked Memory Care unit, and some choose the assisted-living (A-L) option first.

The other day the daughter of a new A-L resident––a man with Alzheimer's–– was showing him how to use his key fob to come onto our floor, to attend an Activity.

"I'm showing him so he'll get used to it and can do it on his own," she told me.

"Knock yourself out, " I said.

No, I didn't. 
I said, "Oh, have you ever met Dr. Alzheimer?"

No, I didn't say that either.

Those among us who have dementia can, in fact, learn new things that involve "procedural memory"---like where to sit at lunch.
Or maybe how to use a key fob (not sure about that, it's pretty complex...).

Working with people with damaged brains makes me realize that it takes a staggering number of complex associations in the brain for a person (such as myself) to stand up at 7:48 AM, go out the door, and walk a few blocks to catch the bus.
Which I must do in 5 minutes, but first I have to tie my shoes, gather my stuff, finish my last swallows of coffee...

Our brains are blooming miracles!!! Even someone with Alzheimer's has complex abilities--the ability to feel compassion, for instance, to laugh at jokes, sing songs, express love... But getting through locked doors is beyond all of the people I work with.

1 comment:

Zhoen said...

Good thing, too, or we'd have more people wandering the streets, lost and confused.

It takes so little to disrupt the fine spinning balance of our brains, and remarkable how much still works despite devastating damage.