I'm sitting here listening my husband and eldest play a game as I contemplate what to write. It strikes me that the game they are playing is a good metaphor for dementia. The game is Fluxx.
Why would a card game be a good metaphor for dementia? Well, with each turn, the rules can change. With each turn, the conditions to win can change as well.
With dementia, especially the aggressive early on-set Alzheimer's variety, each day can present an apparent different set of rules that the dementia patient is following or that the care givers have to follow. For example, we've seen days that Lyn likes hot chocolate and the next she says that it doesn't sit well with her. Each day is a win if the day was a good one. Those conditions also can change daily. Perhaps the winning condition is to get through a doctor's appointment without a melt-down or to get a full meal into the patient.
A caregiver has to have flexibility and constantly read the dementia patient in order to navigate all the variables which are presented in the moment. When you play Fluxx, you have to have that same approach. You need to constantly be aware of the rules, keeping an eye on the goal and what it takes to meet the winning conditions.
At least in Fluxx there is a Rules Reset card.