Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Need a Map?

Dad called this evening. He was looking for his camera. I often remember where things are stored in his apartment, but this time I wasn't sure. I suggested that he look on the shelves in the laundry room. I added, look on the 'white shelves' in the laundry room. Dad responded, "Shelves?" I could tell he was a bit confused. I added a bit more detail, reminding him of the two white bookcases on the wall opposite the washer and dryer. He responded, with a question in his voice, "Washer and dryer?". Then he made a comment that he was now standing in the bedroom. The bedroom is on the opposite end of his apartment from the laundry room. He went on to say he didn't see the bookshelves. I suggested that Dad walk down to the office, he said, "You mean the den?" As he walked that way he recalled that there are bookcases in the laundry, off of the den/office. And he also said he was a bit "befuddled". 

This has happened on a few occasions. I'm not quite sure whether Dad is forgetting the names of the rooms he is in, forgetting where certain pieces of furniture are located or is confusing this apartment layout with his previous apartment. However, there is another way to look at this...

Looking at this from Dad's point of view:

In this instance Dad might have been misdirected by my saying 'white shelves'. He did question that and it appears he headed to the bedroom, perhaps not registering that I had said, "laundry room".  In the closet in his bedroom he does have a white storage cabinet with shelves, and there are some white wire shelves. Either of these places could have been a logical place for his camera. When I said, "washer and dryer" Dad was clearly confused. In his mind he was heading to the place with the white shelves (his closet) and he knows there isn't a washing machine or dryer in there. It all became clear when he finally realized or registered that I was suggesting the laundry area off of the den.

I think we have all had instances where we have been told one thing, but register it a bit differently. Have you?


  1. I like the way you try and figure out his point of view - I often do that with my mother too - can't always work it out though. Patience is one of the keys isn't it?

  2. Oh, my, yes. There are times it is hard to be patient... especially with the number of phone calls I get asking the same question. But, I try to remind myself that at least we can still talk with each other - and if he isn't remembering that he called, or what he asked, the information I am giving him is new to him.
    It is so easy to say that whatever behavior I am seeing is because of Alzheimer's or dementia. It is a bit harder to dig deeper and to see in what ways I might be part of the problem and that they may be another answer!

  3. Having been a caregiver - both as a nurse, and of relatives, I am happy to stumble onto your blog. I imagine a lot of people will take courage from this just knowing they are not alone, plus it being an outlet for you. I just did a short blog about caregivers on my Joy4Today blog last week.

    May God bless you!
    (And thank you for your visit and comments to my Rock4Today blog.)


I'd love to hear your thoughts!