Our notorious Mr. Q, Whom I have called Dementia Man several times in speaking to him, is always full of surprises. Normally the surprises are not of the fantastic kind. He had been diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease about six months ago. He’s been residing in our RCFE Residential Care Facility for the Elderly for the previous five months. Our RCFE is our house; we reside there, instead of many RCFE’s where caretakers just rotate shifts working there. Before he came to stay with us I had high hopes for him. He used to be a very close relative of mine who lived with us over the years I have seen little of him since he remained in the Midwest and our family moved to California.
When he came I saw His condition was much worse than I’d imagined. I tried to link to him as best I could. His memory was very good. His speech, however, was quite marginal. He could speak a bit, but it was forced from him. With a great deal of practice I eventually got him to say complete sentences to some questions I asked or from different responses from him. Fast forward five Months when a couple of days ago I was sitting on a sofa across from him. I picked up one of my magazines and started glancing through it. On one of the pages there was a full page ad with a guy throwing a paper airplane. I advised Mr. Q what the guy was doing, showed him the picture and pointed to the paper airplane. I explained several times what the guy was doing throwing best paper airplanes. Right then I got the brilliant idea to produce a paper airplane and also have our dementia guy fly it a couple of times. I snapped out a heavy advertising sheet in the magazine and made a paper airplane. I dubbed his upcoming flight Discovery Flight LE001. Since Mr. Q’s Alzheimer’s had progressed quite quickly the last three or four weeks I was not certain what to expect. Unfortunately his Alzheimer’s disease was progressing much faster than I or anybody else had anticipated.
The majority of the time he would totally ignore whatever we said or requested of him so it was hard to tell if he was just stubborn and refused to do something that he did not want to do, or if he’d forgotten how to do it, or possibly did not even know what we were asking. I held up the paper Airplane about six or seven feet from him and showed him that the airplane. I explained I needed him to fly it back to me. I flew the airplane toward him slowly. I had given it some up flaps so that it would go real slow and it did. It landed in his lap. He picked it up, but did not seem to know what to do with it. I explained I wanted him to fly it back to me. I place it in his hands in the perfect place so that he can easily glide it back to me. I then moved his arm several times the exact same way he would need to move it to fly the airplane. I stepped back a few feet and motioned toward me with my hands while saying to fly it back to me.