What does it matter if dad tells of an event of how he crafted something with his hands inadequately? What does it matter that he explained how he and his mate screwed a screw in by hammering it in so hard, and it broke? What the hell does it matter?
One fact is that, my old man has dementia and it is what it is, dementia. Dementia has robbed dad of his outgoing life of party personality. He would do anything for anyone and chat with anyone about everything and anything. Whereas now he is rarely able to follow a conversation with people and will talk aloud as if he is totally engrossed in conversation with a person right beside him, only he is the one talking for both of them. It’s just like watching one actor take on two roles, kind of like he is in a trance.
On a recent regular visit, dad was eager to tell me about a handcrafted wooden toy that they made at Men’s Shed that he was carrying. Halfway through his first sentence, a voice spoke over him, to which I said, “I’m listening to dad, tell me later.”. Expectedly dad lost his train of thought and I was given the explanation “He was getting the facts wrong.”.
Apart from insulting the intelligence of both dad and I, to me, communicating with people who have dementia and allowing them to speak completely outweighs whether fact or fiction is being said. As a person with a speech impairment myself, I totally empathise with people who have difficulties communicating. I have always said that, if there were a cure for C.P., they could stick it, but if I could have clear speech, I’ll gladly take it.