Funny & Cute Things Our Demented Patients Say
The intended purpose of this article is to use the written word to capture some lighthearted memories and recollections about the funny and sometimes cute statements that my demented patients have made over the years. Working with the demented elderly population can be interesting.Anyone who works around the demented elderly population can attest to the fact that they sometimes say the darndest things.
Mr. Rider is a pseudonym for the slightly plump octogenarian nursing home resident who had some cognitive decline due to vascular dementia. Anyhow, I walked into his room with his breakfast tray one weekend morning about six years ago. I naturally assumed he would eat his food after I had gotten finished setting up the tray. After all, this guy was one who never missed any meals.
"I don't want to eat this morning," he earnestly tells me. "I'm trying to lose some weight."
I was taken aback by his response because Mr. Rider was not the type of man who ever worried about maintaining his figure. However, after a few more attempts to offer him the tray, he continued to refuse, so I respected his desire to 'trim down.'
Ms. Lucinda is a pseudonym for the petite septuagenarian nursing home resident who was afflicted with middle-stage Alzheimer's disease. Nursing staff had to be very careful with the manner in which they approached her because she would take a swing at any caregiver who made one wrong move. In addition to punching the person, she would give them a verbal lashing with vulgarities that were on the same level as a drunken sailor.
I had just given her a bolus g-tube feeding one night approximately four years ago. Before I left the room, she studied me from head to toe and declared, "You're getting too fat, girl!"
Her eyes suddenly shift to my round backside. She examines me for a few more seconds and nods her head in agreement before saying, "Yes, girl. You're getting fat! You need to stop pigging out!"
Anne is a pseudomyn for the frail nonagenarian nursing home resident whom I met in early 2006 at my very first nursing job. She had middle-stage Alzheimer's disease and other psychiatric issues. I was a brand new nurse back then, and had learned in nursing school to perform 'reality orientation' when dealing with disoriented patients.
She would ask me every 30 minutes, "How do I get to the fourteenth floor?"
My newbie response: "This building has no fourteenth floor. It only has one floor. You're in the right place."
Of course, she was never happy with my answer and would furiously roll around the building in her little wheelchair until she could locate anyone else who would direct her to the nonexistent elevator or the staircase that would lead to the fourteenth floor.
Nowadays I avoid reality orientation like the plague if the patient has middle-stage or end-stage dementia. Therapeutic fibbing seems to work well with these patients and causes them the least amount of emotional turmoil.
So, have any of your past or present demented patients said anything that was too funny or so cute? Feel free to share!Last edit by Joe V on Aug 15, '12
TheCommuter is a moderator of allnurses.com and has varied experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a registered nurse.
TheCommuter has '9' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'acute rehabilitation (CRRN), LTC & psych'. From 'Fort Worth, Texas, USA'; 34 Years Old; Joined Feb '05; Posts: 29,856; Likes: 46,446.
Must Read Topics22Aug 15, '12 by TheCommuter, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorAbout three and a half years ago, a 90-year-old lady with Alzheimer's disease grabbed my hand and placed it against her lower abdomen.
"Do you feel that?" she questioned me.
"What is it?" I asked.
She shouts, "It's the baby! I'm about to give birth any minute!"10Aug 15, '12 by Hygiene Queen, ADN, RN GuideI had a pt who was very focused on her mother: "Does my mother know where I'm at? She'll be worried!"
The best answer I had for her: "Honey, your mother knows where you are! Don't all mothers know where there children are?"
This always worked very well for this pt because it must have struck some chord of truth for her.
I could also say this in complete earnestness (very important-- pt's perceive blatant deceit) because I imagined her mother would, indeed, know.
One of my favorite dementia quotes:
We were helping a very demented gentleman to get dressed on an Easter morning, many many years ago.
He suddenly focused on his window, his eyes widened, and he yelled, "Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!!!!! It's Jesus Chriiiist!!!!!!"
Freaky then-- hilarious to me now!Last edit by Hygiene Queen on Feb 7, '14 : Reason: I found a spelling error a year-and-a-half later... and I fixed it.18Aug 15, '12 by FlyingScotOne of my friends took her very elderly aunt to visit her (the aunt's) even more elderly husband in the hospital. They sat by the bedside and chatted for a few minutes. Suddenly the man looked at my friend and demanded to know who "that old lady is" referring to his wife. She said "Why Uncle Charlie that's your wife, Edna"! He looked at her and said "What did I do, pick the first one I saw on the street? What am I going to tell my father?!" Fortunately Edna was off in her own little world so no hurt feelings. I nearly peed myself laughing when she told me what happened.6Aug 15, '12 by not.done.yet, BSN, RN GuideNothing too dramatic, but had an elderly advancing Alzheimer's patient who had been rather agitated for a couple of days, worse at night. He was being horrible to the staff and to his wife and in getting report I was a little nervous to be taking over his care after being told what the night had been like. I went into his room to do morning vitals and assess him, feeling somewhat trepidatious, and touched his arm and said his name. He opened his eyes, frowning, looked at me....and then lit up in this great big smile and said "Hello there Gorgeous!" Cracked me up given how nervous I was and how rough the night had been according to report.10Aug 15, '12 by SvallasI am currently a pre-nursing student who previously worked as a CNA at a long-term care facility.
One day I was guiding Mrs. "A" to the dining room area located within the building. She was a 98-year-old woman born the same year the Titanic sank (1912). At one point during our journey to the dining hall she brought her walker to a pause turned towards me and said, "are you married". I responded by saying, "I am currently not married but I do have a girlfriend". Her response was "OOHHH Shhhucckksss, I thought I had a chance".
I had another patient that would wake-up severals times throughout the night thinking that it was time for breakfast (keep in mind it was dark). The first thing Mr. "H" (an ex-police officer) would do was take a look at the clock. If the clock read 9:00 pm he assumed it was 9:00 am. He would then proceed to sit up on his bed and start saying that it is time for breakfast. This is when his bed alarm would go off and I would have to rush let him know that he needed some more rest before breakfast time.
I have heard two demented patients debating whether or not it was Christmas (in the middle of July).
Funny things can definitely make your day =DLast edit by Svallas on Aug 15, '1225Aug 15, '12 by Hygiene Queen, ADN, RN GuideQuote from lub dubNo flaming here.A member of my family suffers from dementia, & I find nothing funny or cute about it. There is a thread elsewhere on this site that talks about the elderly being devalued, & I thought of this thread.
Go ahead, let the flaming begin...
Know that if we don't laugh, we cry.5Aug 15, '12 by tigerlogicThe creepiest was a woman whose been sitting in a bit of a daze looks up at me and says, with all the seriousness of a fortune teller "you won't be here in a week" Luckily, I survived. Also, when ever she'd get really stressed and combative the best thing to do was sing "you are my sunshine" and then she'd calm down8Aug 15, '12 by tigerlogicActually my favorites have been the demented who speak languages I don't know at me and we have conversations. I had a woman who would scold me in Vietnamese in the cutest funniest way. A different Vietnamese woman would go around to all the calendars and bulletin boards praying to them and receiving blessings. Maybe it worked-- she could walk better than anyone else in the place.18Aug 15, '12 by Ruby VeeQuote from lub dubI'm not going to flame you. We all cope in different ways. The thing is, my mother, mother-in-law and three of my uncles (my mother's brothers) are suffering from Alzheimer's right now, and my husband and I are acutely aware that it runs in families. We cope with humor, and I'm very happy to see a thread like this one. If you don't find it funny or cute, please feel free to ignore it.A member of my family suffers from dementia, & I find nothing funny or cute about it. There is a thread elsewhere on this site that talks about the elderly being devalued, & I thought of this thread.
Go ahead, let the flaming begin...
Mom was always quite social, and she was acutely aware of what was happening to her. There were times when she was depressed and despondent about it, but there were more times when she'd laugh about it. I remember taking her to a wedding, and just before the processional started, she loudly asked "Now whose funeral is this?" And then, when the bridesmaids started coming down the aisle, "****. I messed up again!"
That was a funny moment at the time, especially with all the knowing titters in the congregation (bride and groom weren't well suited and the marriage lasted about a week longer than predicted -- six of them.) But for the next couple of years, Mom and I would laugh about that moment, laugh until we couldn't stop.
My sister took her to a funeral, and Mom wanted to know whose wedding they were at. My sister has NO sense of humor, so it's probably better that way. You can get away with laughing until the pew shakes at a wedding; not so much at a funeral.