Now that's just sad

>> Friday, June 06, 2008

So, apparently there's this nursing home in Germany that's solved the problem of elderly residents trying to run away. How? By setting up a fake bus stop in front of the home: senile patients see the bus stop and sit down and sit down to wait for a bus that never comes. Eventually, someone from the home comes out and asks the fugitive if he or she wouldn't want to come in for tea or coffee.

Now that's just sad. I mean, come on.

On the plus side, maybe it will be like Ghost World, and a bus from nowhere will come along someday, sometime.


Michelle K Friday, June 6, 2008 at 12:26:00 PM EDT  

Actually, it's a very clever way to deal with the problem.

Dementia patients--especially Alzheimer's patients--tend to wander, possibly because they are looking for something they recognize, which at that point would only be the world of their childhood (which of course does not exist).

This is a very non-disruptive way to keep such patients safe. Especially when you consider that the alternative is locking the patients into a room from which they cannot escape.

In this instance patients see something they recognize, and even with their dementia they know that you must sit on the bench and wait to catch the bus. It's sheer genius, really.

My grandmother's niece cared for her mother who had Alzheimer's, and she had terrible trouble with her mother trying to leave the house--especially in the middle of the night. (Besides the tendency to wander, Alzheimer's patients also tend not to sleep very much.)

One hopes that other homes will be able to come up with similar solutions that will give Alzheimer's patients an alternative to being bolted into their rooms.

Michelle K Friday, June 6, 2008 at 12:26:00 PM EDT  

Oh. Sorry.

Was I not supposed to make a serious response to that?

Nathan Friday, June 6, 2008 at 1:12:00 PM EDT  

I'm not sure if the post was meant to be sarcastic or serious. I certainly understand Michelle's serious response...and agree.

But truth? I laughed my ass off when I read it.

I'm going to hell.

Eric Friday, June 6, 2008 at 2:33:00 PM EDT  

I regret that I, myself, was laughing my ass off when I read the news item. Having read Michelle's serious response, I'm a little (but only a little) chagrined. She's right, of course: it is a clever solution to a problem and better than having to restrain people.

And yet I can't help putting myself in the shoes (or slippers) of the patients. "GodDAMMit! I did it again! I waited for that goddamn bus that never comes." Which is part of the humor. And there is a way in which the solution seems cruel, even if it isn't.

So yes, it was totally valid to post a serious response, Michelle, and I agree with you. And Nathan, I think this cool spot between the lake of fire and the pit of despair has enough room for at least one more person if you want to stand next to me.

Michelle K Friday, June 6, 2008 at 4:18:00 PM EDT  


It's actually not cruel. They have no short term memory, so they probably don't remember why they wandered out there in the first place.

And FYI, my response has more to do with the fact that when I was working for my Master's degree, I took almost exclusively gerontology classes.

But don't be chagrined. You have to be able to laugh at stuff like that.

A friend of a friend's grandmother said the nice thing about her Alzheimer's diagnosis was she could say what she really felt, and people wouldn't take it badly, assuming it was the disease.

On a more serious note, the best way to combat dementia is to use your brain. So go do the crossword, and claim it's for your health.

kimby Friday, June 6, 2008 at 9:01:00 PM EDT  

I laughed at your post..AND i am the caregiver of an Alzheimer sufferer.
There are some days that you HAVE to laugh.
I think it is a wonderful idea to help an already sad situation.

Our "trickery" with Papa (my Father-in-Law) involves cooking. He cannot use the stove or oven. I removed the fuses, so the stove still sits in his kitchenette (he lives with me, but has an "apartment" in my home). ALmost every day for the first few months, he would come to me and tell me the stove did not work. I would tell him that i would call and have someone come and look at it, but it would take a few days. It took a while, but he finally just gave up..or forgot....

Life is a real experience living with him..although more often like that Groundhog movie.

Jim Wright Sunday, June 8, 2008 at 12:07:00 PM EDT  

You know, this would make a great Outer Limits episode:

One day, buses being arriving at scheduled times only the "crazy" patient know, the staff can't figure it out...

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