What would happen in one day’s time if you spent one day thinking like a child. All I see happening in that day, is a day filled with joy and happiness.
I have reread portions of the book, “Dementia Beyond Drugs,” written by Dr. Allen Power many times. Here is an example from that book showing the joy children can bring into the lives of those with dementia.
Lenny had severe dementia caused by repeated strokes, and he was unable to speak more than a few words. He was unable to walk or even propel his own wheelchair. But when the 2-year-olds from our child care center came to visit, the staff brought Lenny to the rec room, and a bond was formed with a boy named Andre.
While the other children played or ran around, Andre sat quietly on Lenny’s lap, watching the action. Neither of them was able to speak a great deal, but they seemed to gain comfort from this silent companionship. Occasionally, one of the staff members would push the wheelchair around the halls to give them a ride. I guess this was our way of interjecting a bit of doing into their being.
I saw them together on several occasions – different ages, different races, but somehow very close, perhaps bound by their common need for being and their common inability to fully join the world of adults. Andre preferred sitting on Lenny’s lap to joining in with the other children’s games, and it was always hard to get him to leave.
One day, I took a photo of the two of them together and gave it to Lenny. It stayed on his bedside shelf, a reminder of a source of companionship and contentment in his last days.
We need to value those with dementia simply for who they are. Do not view them for what they can or cannot do, view them as adults who do the best they can to function with the devastating disease of dementia. They are still human beings, they still have feelings. Taking your small children to nursing homes and hospitals to visit patients teaches them compassion and always boosts the spirits of those they visit.
Ephesians 5:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.