From the Rolling Stones song, “Sympathy For the Devil” comes a line that always makes me think of Dad, “Pleased to meet you, Hope you guess my name.”
Heeeelllllloooo has become a standard greeting at our house, because frankly, dad does not recall who he is actually looking for but wants someone’s attention. Jokingly, it is how we all greet each other around here too (hehehe). People always ask me if my dad knows my name or recognizes me anymore. My standard reply is, “Most the time he knows who I am or recognizes me, but it really does not matter or bother me if he does not.” And yes, I am serious. Hell, I can’t remember names and faces either – never have been able to (worse after a head injury). But enough about me…this is about Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.
Not remembering the face or name of someone the person has knows forever, seems to be the thing that bothers OTHER people the most. I really do not understand that, it is another one of those “It is what is is things.” Put yourself in that person’s place – it sucks for them that they can’t recall it so why stress them out! In their day to day existence, remembering your name or face is not important to them – so DEAL WITH IT. I parallel this to a funeral not being important for the deceased person, it is for the family. Alzheimer’s is not about you – but about that person. My kids are the best, they introduce themselves to dad over and over. “Hi Zaydeh, it is me, Scott, your Grandson. How are you doing today?” Dad usually responds with a smile and a “things are great” and goes back to coloring or what he was doing. My kids have learned to never ask the leading questions,”Do you know who I am?” or “What is my name?” I just wish others would learn this, so it is my mission to inform them – whether they like it or not:)
Dad lives for the here and now and as caregivers or family members or friends with someone who has Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia, you should too. Be happy for the time you get to spend with them in this unfiltered and different phase of their life. After all, I would say that Dad is pretty happy in his new little world. My job is to make sure he stays happy, safe and all his needs are met. It isn’t all a picnic, won’t blow smoke up your butt here, but the memories we are making now with the most amazing father a girl could ever ask for, is fine with me!