Jan 7, 2015

A Wonderful Moment in Time, Mom at the Banana Boat

Wonderful people.

I have a vivid image of the look on mom's face and of us dancing. I will have that image in my mind forever. This is the kind of moment that really knocks home to me why I am here with mom. Moments like this help keep me energized and focused.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

My name is Bob DeMarco. I am the sole caregiver for my mother, Dorothy, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

One of the biggest problems I face as a caregiver is keeping my mother socialized. If it was up to her she would sit around all day in the dark, rarely speaking. If you have experienced this as a caregiver, you know how really disconcerting this can be.

A Wonderful Moment in Time, Mom at the Banana Boat
That's Dotty in the sunglasses, at the Banana Boat.

About two years ago, I decided to take my mother out to the Banana Boat in Boynton Beach. The Banana Boat is an outdoor restaurant on the Intercoastal Waterway.  The "Boat" has an outdoor restaurant and an outdoor bar where you can eat and listen to live music.

Since my mother rarely speaks when we go out to dinner, I decided we would sit at the bar and eat.

I was hoping mom would benefit from being around people; and that, she would benefit from seeing people interact with each other. Another reason why I chose an outdoor venue is because it has lots of bright light; and, bright light has a very positive effect on my mother's attitude and behavior.

How to Use Bright Light to Improve Mood and Behavior in Alzheimer's Patients

When it came time to eat, my mother ordered chicken wings and french fries -- this has always been one of her favorites. I felt a bit of joy when the food came and my mother's eyes almost popped out of her head when she saw -- a big basket of french fries. She was delighted.

Somehow these moments are becoming more and more important to me.

We had a very good time that night and I decided to do it the next Friday night. Pretty soon we were doing it most Friday nights.

After a few weeks, women started to come over and talk to us. The attraction was an older man with his elderly mother. They wanted to tell us how nice it was to see us.

When they learned my mother was suffering from Alzheimer's disease they became sad. Fortunately, it didn't deter them from coming up and talking to my mother. I am grateful for this.

Soon both women and men were coming over to talk. This was working out better than I had ever imagined. This new activity included: exercise, bright light, and lots of social interaction for both mom and me.

I am always trying to find ways to keep mom socialized. If you are an Alzheimer's caregiver you know how difficult this can be.

The Banana Boat is the kind of place that attracts many of the same people week-in-week-out. Since we go around 6:30 we catch the happy hour crowd many of whom stay until 8.

After a while, a small group of people started saving a chair for my mother -- they were expecting us. The first time we missed a Friday, one woman asked for our phone number and told me they were worried about "mom" when we didn't show up. Now we call to let them know when we can't make it on a Friday night.

As time went on, our little group of friends started to get bigger and this turned out to be a "God send". 

Each week, one by one these wonderful people come up and start talking to my mother. She really enjoys this and her attitude perks up right away. They treat her just like everyone else and talk to her like she is one of the gang. This year a group got together and took my mother to the casino to play slot machines on her birthday. I cannot put into words how much this meant to mom and me.

My mother loved to dance. So, each and every week I asked her if she wanted to dance. Our new friends would also ask mom to dance -- men and women alike. I could tell mom wanted to dance but she always said -- no. Mom is no longer confident around crowds or people she doesn't know. While her instincts tell her she wants to dance her brain is sending a very different message. I can tell you mom was never shy about dancing and she is a good dancer.

I repeatedly asked mom if she wanted to dance. She repeatedly said, no.

One night when we were getting ready to leave, and as mom stood up, I started dancing with her right on the spot. She was shaking it a little bit and had a big smile on her face. By the time we were done, people had tears in their eyes and smiles as big as big could be.

Wonderful people.

I have a vivid image of the look on mom's face as we danced. I will have that image in my mind forever.

This is the kind of moment that really knocks home to me why I am here with mom. Situations like this really help remind me how wonderful things can be; and, when the caregiving gets difficult I remind myself of moments like this.

I can assure you it was really a wonderful moment in time.

Bob and Dorothy live in Delray Beach, Florida.

Related Articles

Why Do Alzheimer's Patients Have Lucid Moments?

How Do You Get an Alzheimer's Patient to Cooperate

How to Listen to an Alzheimer's Patient

Communicating in Alzheimer's World

13 Things Every Alzheimer's Caregiver Needs to Know

How to Use Ice Cream as a Memory Care Tool

From Our Award Winng Alzheimer's Knowledge Base

How do you talk and communicate effectively with a dementia patient

How to live with someone who has Alzheimer's

How Do You Do it Alzheimer's Care

About the Alzheimer's Reading Room

We help Alzheimer’s patients to live a better life. We accomplish this by providing excellent advice and practical solutions to the problems that caregivers face each day. Our solutions work and have been tested over time by millions of caregivers.

The Alzheimer's Reading Room is the publisher of the highest quality expert information currently available for the Alzheimer's those seeking information on: Alzheimer's care, dementia care, memory care, and for caregivers and dementia professionals.

The goal of the Alzheimer's Reading Room is to Educate and Empower Alzheimer's caregivers, their families, and the entire Alzheimer's and dementia community worldwide.

The Award Winning Alzheimer’s Reading Room Knowledge Base is considered to be the highest quality, deepest collection, of information on Alzheimer’s and dementia in the world.

Original content the Alzheimer's Reading Room

Alzheimer's Reading Room