I entered the room the other day to find Mom on her feet, looking anxious. “I don’t know where they went,” Mom said; she was clearly upset. “Who?” “Those two…men. They were asking about….” Here Mom gestured at the dog. “They asked about Coco?” “YAS!” said Mom, in an echo of her exasperated formerly compos mentis self when someone just wasn’t GETTING IT, due to their block-headedness. Hm. Do I pursue this? It obviously was of deep concern to her, but asking questions wasn’t getting us anywhere. “Maybe they just wanted to meet Coco–she’s such a nice dog,” I ventured. “But they came in here!” Mom said. I was pretty sure by now that Mom had had a dream, and tried changing the subject. “Let’s go sit on the sofa and look at the ZOOBORNS book.” But Mom wanted to look for the men and make sure they weren’t still around to threaten her and Coco. So we headed out into the hallway.
“Which way?” I asked, once were outside the door. Mom gestured to the left, and we off we went. How grateful I was for the reading I’d done that suggested entering the reality of the individual with dementia. We could relieve Mom (maybe) of her worries, and get some exercise into the bargain. Down the hall we went, and by the time we made it to the common living area, Mom was tired. We sat down to rest, and I commented to Mom that it appeared the Men were not in the building.” What men?” “The two men you said were in your room.” “Oh yes…I think that was….yesterday….” We stayed for a few minutes longer, resting. Mom had already forgotten the men. Crisis ended by simply acting in a supporting role to allay her fears. Some days it’s not so hard to be helpful.