Casual Fridays are a series of real stories about people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. They are positive, slightly sad but enlightening. I want to show that you can still have intimate personal connections with people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Additionally, I hope that readers can relate them to their own experiences. While some of these stories may be funny my intent is not to make fun of people with Alzheimer’s. I intend to change the way that people perceive the disease by showing some positive aspects to aid in accepting Alzheimer’s for what it is.
It has been incredibly important for me to understand my personal relationship with Alzheimer’s. My hope is that these stories can help those additionally affected by Alzheimer’s disease come to terms with how it effects their lives.
A colleague of mine worked in the eldercare industry for seventeen years. He worked in nursing homes and residential communities as a Nursing Assistant, an Activity Coordinator, and a Life Enrichment Director. He currently works with a non-profit organization that assists people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. He told me these stories and shares my views on how important they are. He asked me to share them with you. Please enjoy, I will post a new story every Friday.
-Carlos Barrios, Founder of Endear for Alzheimer’s
Elvis’ 65th Birthday
Carol was a petite brunette woman in her early sixties I took care of at an Alzheimer’s residence in 1999. She had been in an abusive relationship, had experienced years of drug and alcohol abuse, and was permanently affected. Her husband was in prison at the time because of his physical abuse of Carol. She was quite a bit younger and more energetic than most of the other residents and would spend most of her day walking the hallways and talking, to herself and to anyone she met in her travels. Her speech was largely gibberish, but in a very interesting way. Here is a sample of Carol’s thought process: “My evershifter said nope…Daddy souls off the crumb…Hi honeyone who hurt…I have to feather ‘em, feather and pickles…I don’t know what I don’t need…” One morning Carol was really agitated walking down the hall. I smiled and said, “Good morning, Carol.” She fired back, “Good morning, good asshole.”
On January 8, 2000, it was Elvis’ 65th birthday, so I decided to dress up like the King in some gaudy goodwill clothes and bling. I came to work and set up a jam box in the dining room and strapped on my guitar. I was lip synching “Burning Love” for the residents assembled there, some of whom were tapping their toes, while others just stared at me in befuddlement. Carol wandered into the room and came up to me, staring at me just inches from my face. She looked around and said, “I just walked into a beautiful, beautiful dream.” Then she laughed and walked out of the room to me gyrating and mouthing, “A hunka hunka burnin’ love.”
Catch up on passed episodes of Casual Fridays. Here are some you may have missed:
“The Silver Key Club”
“Laughing and Singing”
“The Task Master”
“Our 3 Floors of Memory”
“Need to Get Back to Clay City, Iowa”
“Toilet Talk Time”
“Fleas and a Feather Float Together”
“Once a Politician, Always a Politician”
“Positive Post-It Notes”
“88 Keys of Past Memories”
“Fathers of Daughters”