From Child to Adult to Child

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If you have dealt with someone with dementia you know they regress back to childhood. Dementia is no laughing matter and really is not funny.  As a caregiver you know you have to laugh or you will cry.

I am my brother J.R.’s power-of-attorney and I make all the decisions for his care.  The nursing home calls me with every change or problem that occurs with J.R.  I received a call a few days ago. There was a confrontation between J.R. and a female patient in the dining room at the nursing home.  I was told it was not J.R.’s fault, it was the fault of the woman involved, they said she was quite mean.

J.R. was standing several feet behind this lady as she sat eating in the dining room.  She does not like J.R. and wanted him to go away.  She counted to 7, which surprises me, because most cannot count.  At 7, she turned and threw her glass of water all over J.R. Then she threw her plastic water-glass at J.R., hitting him.  J.R. picked the glass up from the floor and threw it back at her.  She then hit J.R. with her fist, and J.R. in return hit her back.  The aides intervened and separated these 2 squabbling kids.  The nursing home staff try hard to keep these 2 away from each other.  Why did J.R. fight back against a woman?  The natural instinct of self-preservation and defending yourself.  When your mind is like a child, you do not understand how to deal correctly with confrontation. Neither J.R. nor the woman were injured.

I told the nurse it sounded like a fight between 2 young children.  I laughed and told the nurse it was funny.  The nurse in turn laughed and told me, yes that is true.  It was humorous, but believe me when I say, it was sad to see adults regress back to the mental state of small children.  If nurses and caregivers do not laugh, they will cry.  Life has so many challenges.  Look for the humor rather than the sorrow, that is about the only solution to combat the despair you feel.  If you have to make tough decisions for another human being you will soon realize how much anguish enters your heart and mind.

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