Chatty Cathy and the Never-ending String

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After drawing this week’s comic I realize I look incredibly mean, but I swear I’ve heard these stories a thousand times. Gran also asks questions so quickly that I can’t possibly answer them all in time.

Talking in loops or circles is common in advanced stages of dementia. There are communication strategies for talking to someone with the disease. Another tip is to keep them entertained and distract them whenever they get upset.  I’m not going to begin to comment on the ethics of using technology as a babysitter other than it can serve as a great distraction and provide a much needed break. Haven’t slept in days? Click on the TV. If they can work an IPad, pull that out too.

The above scenario only happened twice, but I found it funny because Gran is such a high energy person that she never takes naps. It’s like she has an endless Chatty Cathy string. Indeed on one of the aide’s first days she suggested that Gran might want to take a nap to which I responded, “yeah, that’s not happening. Try a walk.”

So no promises, but if you’re having a particularly rough day of caregiving and your elderly one won’t take a nap, try clicking on “A New Hope.” May the force be with you.



Here Kitty, Kitty

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There’s this sweet female cat that hangs around my house that reminds me of a Maine Coon because of her long fur and tufts in her ears. Really, she’s probably too small to be a purebred Maine Coon, but she’s still adorable. She looks in the windows and upsets my cat Rizzo who thinks she is going to move in. I swear I haven’t tried to feed it–well, I left some cat food out one night, but an opossum came and ate it so that doesn’t count.

Watching my grandmother’s response to my pets led me to do a little research on the benefits of having animals around. Pets can provide great comfort to those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Therapy dogs can be used to assist the elderly in daily activities like walking and locating medications. Additionally,  interaction with therapy pets has shown to decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety in adults with dementia, even those people who aren’t necessarily animal lovers.

Me? I’ve always been an animal lover, so I won’t complain if Gran lets the stray cat in. Rizzo, might though.

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