So I asked him to tell me about his understanding of dementia and how it could be impacting patients and to explain which part of his father’s behavior was inconsistent with the symptoms or their consequences. For example, did he really expect his father to remember and follow instructions even though he knew his father was having short-term memory problems and also facing problems in understanding things?
The son was reluctant in the beginning, but a short while later, as I pushed him with some questions, he said, I never thought of it this way, and began using a different lens for the behavior that he had earlier considered stubborn and uncooperative.
He started recalling and reinterpreting episode after episode, like how his father may have felt cornered or angry when family members acted annoyed/ angry with him and issued orders. I heaved a sigh of relief.
Though he sounded unhappy that he and his family would have to understand and change so many things, he had started seeing the pointlessness of having unrealistic expectations that ignored his father’s diagnosis.
This was not just about an MRI showing something or a word on a prescription; his father’s life was changing, and the family would have to find different ways of interacting and being together with him."...