Jun 5, 2011


Today is my sister Joanne's birthday...

Happy Birthday Joanne...

My sister lives far away, but she calls my mother often. Dotty can be in a rotten mood and Joanne always perks her up and gets her laughing.

Joanne usually calls around 9 PM. Night can often be difficult for Alzheimer's patients, and for Alzheimer's caregivers.

It is not usual for Dotty to start getting that "I been dipped in it" look on her face around 8-9 PM. Most often she starts complaining and says she is going to bed.

Sometimes I wait and take Dotty out around 7 PM. This can help. However, the phone call is the best remedy. I also use ice cream and that works but not always as well.

This is reminding me about when Dotty was first diagnosed. Dotty was very mean and always complaining.

Joanne would call and Dotty would start with her wild tales. For example, how she had hired an attorney and he was going to get her license back for her.

On bad nights, Dotty would tell Joanne about how she drove herself to the mall that day. Or, how she saw our brother Billy that day -- in person. Obviously, all of these stories were figment of the imagination.

I am also remembering how completely upset Joanne would get. Like just about everyone that has to deal with Alzheimer's disease these kinds of episodes can confuse and they are hard to learn to deal with. It can be and was gut wrenching.

Now Joanne knows how to go with the flow. She just flows right along in the conversation and Dotty laughs as she tells her wild and whacky tales.

One part of this that is interesting. Dotty often tells wild and whacky tales on the phone, or to her friends. She rarely tells them to me.

I am a big fan of the phone call. I wish I could get more of our relatives to call Dotty on a consistent basis. She loves the phone and the calls improve her mood. of course, this also improves my life.

The phone call. So simple.


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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room