I hear the Sunrise symphony…..

People with dementia have limited, if any, filters. They say what’s on their mind and don’t give a hoot about manners. It can be shocking and hilarious at the same time to watch this in action especially at the dinnertime “symphony” at Sunrise.

You see at dinnertime half the folks are experiencing sundowning, meaning they get more agitated at the end of the day. Add to that people are hungry and tired and well, dinnertime can be quite a show! At Sunrise everyone sits in a large communal dining room at assorted tables, some together, some apart, and the very angry ones sit alone. Typically I feed my mom at her own table, just the two of us. Sitting with other folks makes her antsy, I constantly have to persuade her to sit down and eat and if I speak to other people the problem is exacerbated.

But back to the symphony. It goes a little something like this:

We start out with the sound of some clinking plates and utensils and the chattering of the staff. After a few moments you might hear George clear his throat, “AHHHEEEMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!”. It’s the loudest throat clearing you will ever hear, EVER. Then in a moment Jane babbles, ” Ahoy boy boy boy bob, bob, yes, no, no, no, no, ahee, hee, hee, hee hee” that ends with a top of the lungs scream, “AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Then Juan chimes in “SHUT UP!”  A few moments of silence…. Then we start with Rona, “HEEEEEEEELP!” and Judy, “I wanna go home!” followed again by Juan’s, ” SHUT UP!” or “GO HOME!” Roland may then be heard saying” Where are my hot dogs!” then perhaps when he receives them, “What is this? This is not a hot dog!” followed up by the staff’s “ Yes, Roland, that is a hot dog.” Maybe we’ll throw in a little “OH BROTHER!” by Felicia or one of the other residents whose faculties are still pretty sharp. Then, just as the silence takes over again…..George  adds “AHHHEEEMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!” And the whole cycle begins again.

Usually by this time my mom’s face is pinched up tight and she’s ready to bolt. I don’t blame her! This can go all evening. The staff just go about their business, serving food and assisting residents who need help eating. I just smile and tell my mom for the tenth time, “Please Mom, sit down and finish your dinner.”


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