Getting Her to Smile

When I spoke with Lyn this weekend, she took some time to express that she's increasingly unhappy at day hab.  She is struggling with her own changes as well as changes that have occurred at day hab in the past few months.

She was pretty upset.  I could see she was trying to remain calm but the more she talked about it the more upset she became.  Tears were imminent if she couldn't be redirected.

Despite her emotions being a bit raw, I was impressed at how coherent she was during our conversation.  It seemed like she was having a good day and was able to express herself clearly.  I thanked her for telling me about why she was upset and about what was happening.  I tried to validate her feelings and let her know that we were very much aware of what was going on and are working to change it.

I decided to try a different tactic and said "Lyn, look up at me.  I'm going to make a silly face."  I don't normally announce when I'm going to do things like this, but I needed to in this case because she was upset and she may have thought I was making fun of her.  Fortunately, it worked.

I got her to smile and kept her at it for about a minute.  I think the smile helped change her focus.  Tears were averted that time.  It won't always work, but it is definitely worth a try.

We didn't make silly faces to each other before the dementia kicked in but we do now.  As long as she responds positively to it, I'll do it for her because she understands that I'm playing with her.  Who knew that crossing eyes and sticking out tongues would become something that lightens her for a moment and gives a different, more innocent joy to the conversation?


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