My father had vascular dementia, his sister Alzheimer's Disease. So I want to train people how I want to be treated when and if I ever need to be in a residential or day care setting caring for people with a dementia.I want people to know what to do when I get there. I say this only half tongue in cheek.
Like my father, I don't want to play bingo. There were some who bribed him into playing by offering him Hershey's chocolate kissess. If you're going to bribe me, I want top-of-the-line dark chocolate covered almonds with sea salt, the kind they sell at Trader Joe's.
I want you to play with me, sing and dance with me. And please, please, don't tell me how to dance. Follow my lead. Whether or not you think you are a better dancer than I, please follow my lead. Appreciate the dance that I do. I like the music from the 20's to the late 60's. That's my sensibility. Please don't play rock music. Carribbean, Latin - I'm happy to try new music, as long as it ensures that I can't keep still while listening.
I am not one who likes to listen to music, except as a motivator for dance. However, music is a lot better than TV. I don't want the tv or radio on, except NPR, ever in my presence. I probably won't even want NPR then, although I love the sounds of the hosts' voices. In fact, I'm a person who likes quiet. And solitude. I love the sound of birds and even insects. Please don't have one of those cuckoo clocks that supposedly sounds like bird calls. My father once said, "and they think that sounds like birds?" Practice your bird calls please.
Play with me. Play is a wonderful way to acknowledge our mutuality. Truth is, you will need me just as much as I will need you. I will want to know not only that you see me and hear me, but that you value my presence. For surely, although I may not have words, I will still be breathing and will be able to experience you and the emotions and attitudes you bring. Please bring me love. Oodles and oodles of love. Nothing else will matter at that point. Just knowing that I'm still here, that you value me and are affected by my being ~ maybe even changed because you have sat with me ~ without all the words.