Hearing the Argument

What you cannot see in the picture of Lyn that I included in Monday's post is that Lyn was in an argumentative mood when we spoke earlier this week.  She was mad at Mom, holding a grudge and being vocal about it.  The funny thing was that she would step away and go off camera before making her argumentative comments.

Mom had gone into Lyn's room and noticed that two drawers of her dresser were not closing.  They were not closing because they were stuck open from clothes that had just been stuffed in and not laid in neatly.  Mom opened the drawers to sort them out and found that the drawers contained not just the short-sleeved summer shirts that Lyn's been wearing recently.  They also contained her extensive collection of long-sleeve tee-shirts and turtlenecks.  Lyn's been looking for the winter shirts for a couple of weeks now.  She's been asking Mom for them and complaining that she's cold.  Lyn's always cold.

Upon finding the shirts, Mom pulled them all out and put them in for the laundry.  They have been crammed in the drawers through all the winter months and could benefit from a freshening.  This is what made Lyn mad.

Mom mentioned the find and the resulting load of laundry to me.  Lyn got up, walked off camera and said "Not next time."  Mom closed her eyes a minute and upon opening them said "Nine.  Ten."  Staying off camera, Lyn continued loud enough for me to hear, "I can open my own drawers."  Mom didn't engage with Lyn and we continued on with the conversation.  Several times, however, Lyn would get up, go off camera and complain about Mom washing her winter shirts or opening her drawers.

At one point, Lyn settled down again within range of the camera and jumped into the conversation by deciding to tell Mom what she needed to do.  Mom responded with a "Watch your tone!" to which Lyn backpedalled a little.  She was in a mood though and kept coming back to expressing how she felt Mom had transgressed against her.

There's no winning when dementia is in the argument.  There's no rational explanation that you can offer the person to help them see that an action was necessary or was not what they believe.  The caregiver, in this case Mom, is the one who has to take all the actions to try maintaining positive interactions.


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