One of the things I appreciate about my mom’s new community is the depth of knowledge the surrounding staff and volunteers bring to help deal with a wide variety of individuals with varied dementias. I also know we are lucky to be able to afford to have mom in a community where she gets to socialize and her days are filled with activities.
When I visited the community during Bingo, the woman leading the activity exudes positivity and joy. She also shares many funny stories about herself and manages to recognize the residents during her “bingo calls.” The amount of confusion by the players at our table is noticeable, but it’s managed so well that many of them made it to “BINGO.”
I was most intrigued by two women at my table. The first was the woman sitting next to my mom. She either can’t process the letter and number combination or hear, so after EVERY call she asks the caller to repeat the letter and number. The caller repeated it patiently at her request but by the time she turns to look at her board, she has forgotten the number. When it’s repeated to her, she immediately refuses the information. When she got close to having Bingo, she would clear her board and then comment that the game is “boring.”
The second woman who most interested me was my mom. She could easily follow along and in-between putting down her chips tried to help the first woman I mentioned. Halfway through, my mom suggests that we just need to let her be and have fun however she wants to play this game.
When we leave, my mom tells the PDA pushing her wheelchair to “get Kay up here.” It’s the first time in several months that she has used my name. It’s easy for me to see that my mom is adapting to the community and now she is benefiting from the ongoing activities.
I marvel at the constant change in my mom and it’s not always bad. She has no short-term memory and can’t even recall most details about her past. She still knows she had 4 children and our names, that she was married to my dad and that he has left this planet. Maybe that is all that is important now. Soothed.