Let it flow and let it go.
At any gathering of family and friends you will always have some allies. These are the people that look right through dementia and see the person they always knew. They don't really give it much thought, they just do it.
Take my sister Joanne. She can yak away with Dotty like you wouldn't believe it. For the most part, it seems to me just like it did 10, 20 years ago. They just yak.
Don't get me wrong, Dotty might start "talking wild and crazy". Like when she asks Joanne to help her get her Volkswagen fixed. The last time any of us saw the VW was back in 1982. Joanne agrees to help and they just segway into the next topic of conversation.
Dotty might tell Joanne that her cousin Anna is moving far away. Cousin Anna is 100 years old. Yeah. She lives in the same place. But there are elements of truth to Dotty's wild tale. Anna did move far away about 20 years ago.
Here is something else that I finally came to understand. Because Joanne just goes with Dotty's flow, Dotty tends to discuss wild and crazy things with Joanne that Dotty never discusses with me.
Joanne puts Dotty in the WayBac machine and away they go.
Main point. It really doesn't matter what wild and crazy tales Dotty dreams up. What is important is that Dotty is "yakking away".
Dotty is being engaged. Dotty is socializing. And here is the best part, Dotty becomes like a modern day version of her old self. A whacky and wild version of herself for sure. Still funny thought. Dotty can be very entertaining if you give her the chance.
Next, if you keep the person suffering from dementia engaged and "socialized up" they won't have the opportunity to go over to the "dark side".
On the other hand, if you let them sit around in the corner looking on, you can count on one simple fact, they will go over to the "dark side".
Living with a "fractured" brain isn't easy. It is easy to get confused. What happens when any person gets confused, then frustrated? They act out.
So don't let your loved one get confused. You do this by keeping them engaged in conversation, or working on some task they enjoy.
Go ahead, go live your life. Take your loved one along with you and help them to live their life.
Who knows, maybe you have someone like Joanne -- find them.
Let me tell you, when someone puts Dotty in the Waybac machine the stories can be pretty funny and fascinating.
But the real key is, if Dotty is telling her wild and whacky stories she won't be saying: "I want to go home", or, "I wish I was dead".
Instead, Dotty will be living her life.
Plug into the obvious, keep positive, and don't wait for it to happen, help make it happen.
Who knows, you might find some of those "fractured fairy tales" pretty funny and entertaining.
More Insight and Advice for Caregivers
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room