Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Oops

Our loved ones with Alzheimer's have a tendency to say or do things that are not always socially or politically correct. It's because they are losing their filters, the things in their head that tell them (and all of us), "No, that's not a polite thing to say or do." When it happens, we often cringe, worried that someone will take offense. But you know what? They can't help saying it, and if someone is offended by words or actions that your loved one has no control over, well, that's their problem, not yours. It also helps to maintain a sense of humor. Learn to laugh when the situation is funny. Learn to ignore it when it's not. Don't stress over something that just "is."

Case in point: Not too long ago my Dad asked one of his aides (a beautiful young woman of color), "Are you a slave?" She laughed, and said, "No, Hal, I'm a free woman." My Dad beamed at her. "That's wonderful!," he said, truly happy for her. A bit later, he asked another aide, "Do you own slaves?" "No, I don't," she replied. "Good to hear," Dad said. And he really was quite happy, and blissfully unaware that his questions were inappropriate.

And speaking of inappropriate behavior, he's also been known to pat a few bottoms. We'll leave those stories for another time. :)

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