A different Dad
Yes, our approach to interaction with those with Dementia by using playful activities is supported by research, and yes, I can show you the papers, the websites, the organisations and Doctors who are all in agreement that connecting and engaging with those who have Dementia in this way is beneficial. But for us it’s simpler than that.
I just wanted to buy my Dad a present that would make his eyes light up with interest. I just wanted to be able to spend time with him and not automatically find myself resorting to questions, to try and encourage a memory into being, to find something we could connect on. ‘What did you have for lunch?’ ‘Do you remember who this is?’ ‘Do you remember walking me down the aisle last week?’ All of them pointless, while memories might come sometimes they don’t come in response to questions. What does come instead is a recognition that something has been forgotten, and we all know that unpleasant feeling.
Together my husband and I found a way to make it happen for us, to make the most of all the moments we had together with Dad. We’ve discovered the studies and papers and Doctors on this side of the equation and, while they’re important, not knowing about them didn’t impact our ability to do this. It wasn’t difficult to do, once I’d accepted this wasn’t my old Dad but a new, slightly different one. I still loved him the same and trusted that he would feel it. All I needed to do was find out what interested this new version of my Dad and provide it for him. In doing so I also gave myself some brilliant moments and memories.
It is simple, but it works.