He Walks Behind Her

I meet some of the nicest people in the world through Senior Life Journeys. I had the pleasure of welcoming a new dementia coaching client into the office recently. She brought her daughter to our sessions, and we discussed Dad’s dementia. It is a pleasure to work with a family who cares so deeply for each other. One would think this is the norm, but it is not. I see families who are happy to move their loved one to an assisted living, but then they ignore the individual. No visits. No smiles. No hugs. No jokes. No special unexpected gifts. This makes me sad. I’m glad to have individuals like my recent new client to help balance things out in my world.

My client’s husband’s dementia is about mid-stage, and he is experiencing some health issues that have been a challenge for him and his family. I was expressing my desire for individuals with dementia to be respected and honored for who they are. We learn to accept people in the place, time, and abilities they bring to us. The wife told me of her husband’s desire for her to always walk in front of him.

I recommend clients walk with their loved one using the “bride and groom” hold. This is where the caregiver bends their arm and places the bend in the armpit of the individual with dementia. This will allow the caregiver to use their forearm as a break or a steering wheel while walking with the individual with dementia. This is a safe and effective way to walk. But my client stated her husband always wants to walk behind her. Hmmmm. Why would he want to walk behind her? Then I figured it out.

My client’s husband feels belittled when his wife is guiding and directing his steps. He feels a sense of independence when he can walk alone, but he gets lost and needs her help. Walking behind her allows him to follow her footsteps, never get lost, and appear to be independent in this world in which he lives. WOW! That is really smart. Of course, my client keeps check on her husband following behind to make sure all is well.

In your caregiving journey, make sure you respect your loved ones. Don’t belittle them or embarrass them. Make sure the way you treat them is how you would want to be treated. The Golden Rule – Remember? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s a good plan to follow. Even in the face of dementia.

Hope that gives you Something To Ponder.

Sometimes, You’ve Just Got To Laugh!

At a recent cocktail party, two wealthy women were discussing how they had made their men into the success they were today. One lady said, “Since I met my husband, he became a millionaire.” To which the second lady responded, “What was he before you met him?”


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