Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Communication

Alzheimer's patients have their own way of communicating. Some do not communicate at all, anymore. Some have a language all their own and some have trouble finding words to fit their thought process. Just depends on the stage of Alzheimers they are in. 

Elbert has trouble finding words. Gracie (a fellow resident of Elberts) mumbles all the time. Gladys tells everyone what to do. Louise has reverted back to her native language (Norweigan). Somehow they all get their message across.

When I visited yesterday I took Elbert over to the love seat so we could sit together and I could show him some pretty Christmas magazine pictures. He was half looking as I thumbed through, pointing out a pretty decorated tree or children with gifts. His attention span isn't the greatest in the world. But, I was trying in my own small way to make a connection.

Remember Louise... she's the sweet lady who thinks Elbert is her deceased husband. So, here comes Louise. She heads straight for the love seat jabbering Norweigan all the way. She leans down to me telling me something and I say 'speak English' but she continues as she is. Then she points for me to move. Her method of communication is quite clear. 

When I don't get up and sit in the other chair she tries to scoot down between Elbert and the arm of the loveseat. No room. I don't move. So, she sits down on the arm, takes Elbert's hand in her own. Claiming property. I just smile. Oh, she wants me to move so badly. She has made that very clear. I suggest that she sit in the nearby chair but she is not giving up. Then one of the staff spies her. 'Louise, come here'. She doesn't move. So, they get her and take her to a chair. She gets up. They place her into another chair and finally she calms down and begins to nap. 

I could have moved. I could have given her what she wanted but my time with Elbert is limited and it was my turn. Louise can sit next to him when I am home.

6 comments:

Dolores said...

Your words give such a great visual picture of the love seat situation. Proud of you for standing your ground ... and it's good that Louise was distracted for awhile.

David goes in cycles of having trouble finding words...this week he's doing good, but his eyes are seeing people and objects that aren't there..... Oh Alzheimer's!!!!

Hugs to you,
Dolores

Linda J. said...

I believe you handled that situation very well.

Susannah said...

I would have done the same exact thing. Your small time is YOUR TIME.

Peggy said...

Hi Latane, I honestly don't know how you keep your sense of humour! It meant nothing to Louise to be moved but meant the world to you to spend some time on a very special day with Elbert.I have just read you remembrances post and feel very humbled, you are one special lady.

JeanMac said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Joy said...

I am sorry you have to go through this with your husband. When my mom was in the nursing home (Alzheimers), she lost the ablility to talk. Her name was Laura. Another Alzheimer's patient (male)kept calling for his wife, whose name was also Laura. He kept calling, "Laura!" "Laura!" My mom answered, "I'm in here!" It makes me sad to think about that. Mom has been gone for almost seven years, she is in Heaven and I am so glad she is there.