Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Alzheimer's home

This morning I took the kids to an Alzheimer's care center to do some Christmas activities with the residents.  I realized what I like about Alzheimer's patients:  they're real. They have no filter, no inhibitions, and their true personality is all you see.  Some of them still have a great sense of humor, and some are very feisty.  They spin yarns that I don't know whether to believe or not, but they're interesting.

The minute we came in the door, we witnessed an old lady cat fight.  One lady was yelling, "Shut up!" and the other one yelled back, "I'm the boss around here!"  The workers had to separate them, and Shut Up Lady told the worker to take Boss Lady far away from her.  Then another lady spread her arms wide and demanded that Noah give her a big hug, which he did.  She stared at him and seemed to be searching his soul, and then she got right up in his face and asked, "Are you all right?" and he said he was.  She hugged him again and let him go.

The main project of the day was to make gingerbread houses with them.  Some of them did a great job.  Some gobbled up their house materials before a house could be constructed.  Some just liked watching us build the houses.  One lady watched the guy next to her eat his whole house, and then said disgustedly, "How in the hell are you going to display it if you eat it?!"

I had this conversation with one lady about every 20 seconds or so:

L: Where are your kids from?
Me: South Korea.
L:  Do they speak English?
Me:  Yes, they do.  They've been in America since they were babies, so they grew up speaking English.
L: Where do they go to school?
Me:  I teach them at home.
L (frowning): Do you think that's a good idea?
Me:  Yes, I do.  Don't you?
L:  Well, I sure wouldn't do it!

Pause 20 seconds, and then she turns to me and says, "Where are your kids from?" and we start the whole thing over again. 

 This lady was hilarious.  I told her we were going to build a house out of her crackers, and she said, "You're a dreamer!" I asked her if she was an architect, and she said no.  I said I wasn't either, but I bet we can build it.  She said, "Whatever turns your crank, honey!"  

Noah turned himself into Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

After the gingerbread fiasco was cleaned up, Sarah led a conga line with her friends, and they danced all around the room while singing "Jingle Bells."  

And my favorite moment of the day.  This lady was sitting by herself in the back, not interacting with anyone.  I tried to chat with her, but she wasn't having any of it.  Noah came along, and this woman stood up, grabbed him by the hands, and started spinning him around, dancing, and grinning ear to ear.  When she was done, she kissed him and sat back down, looking completely satisfied and content. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved this. And this is why I think you are all so special!
~ j