This morning, Mary Ann asked Daughter Lisa how things were going in her marriage.  It was just the opportunity needed for Lisa to tell her in a natural and gentle way the truth that all is well.  The general wisdom is to go along with delusions/hallucinations when interacting with someone suffering from dementia.  We are using the truth in love approach. 

Maybe Lewy Body Dementia [LBD] is different enough from other expressions of dementia to warrant an approach different from the general wisdom.  Parkinson’s Disease Dementia [PDD]  is a dementia with Lewy bodies, and presents itself in a way that is almost identical to LBD.  Those who suffer from LBD or PDD live in the margin of reality.  There are forays into a world with little, sometimes no relationship with reality.  Those with LBD/PDD can return to lucidity in a moment or a day or seldom. 

It seems that since there is movement between reality and hallucination/dream/delusional perceptions, surrounding the person with the truth can help the person move back to the reality side of the margin between the two.  Mary Ann may move back to the hallucination/dream/delusional view of reality, but having the truth surrounding her seems to help. 

Just a few moments ago, when she was moving in bed, I went in to see what I could do to help.  She asked if the party was over.   In her mind, a large group of people had come in the door at the same time for a party celebrating the new sun room and remodeled deck.  It was Good Friday.  I went with it enough to ask if they liked it.  She said they did.  I asked her to include a request for donations to pay for it the next time there was such a gathering.  She laughed.  I described the truth to her.   There was no party, Lisa, Denis and I had just watched the NCAA basketball tournament final — a great game!

She seemed to accept that description of reality.  It just seems to me to be better to speak the truth in love to hallucinations/dreams/delusions.  It makes sense to me that the more truth in those of us around Mary Ann, the more secure she will feel, even though the truth runs counter to what she is convinced she has seen or heard.  It would be too hard to try to keep track of anything other than the truth. 

Mary Ann slept well last night.  She has napped some during the day.  In general, she seems to do better with hanging on to reality when she is well rested. 

Her nap time gave us a chance to continue a task that started yesterday when Daughter Lisa and Son Micah were here together.  We began going through boxes.  What a frightening task — overwhelming.  There are so many boxes of things, so many decisions to be made about what to keep and what to give away and what to throw away.

Daughter Lisa is now a professional in the area of organizing.  She has always been the most organized person I know.  Now she gets paid to do it.  Gratefully, she is not pushy about it.  I had to open the door to this task.  We carted boxes from the basement storage area to the garage and began going through them.  We brought Mary Ann out into the garage to look at the contents of some of the boxes.  She said her childhood was there when she looking into a large box of dolls, mostly disintegrated after being stored for so many decades. 

There are some complex dynamics to what we are doing, given the time in our life and Mary Ann’s circumstances.  There is an element of sending our things on their way to our Children and Grandchildren, since we are late in life and Mary Ann is so vulnerable.  Since Mary Ann lives as if death is not a part of her reality and my health is still good, we are not ready to let go of things that have a sentimental attachment.  Actually, Mary Ann is not very sentimental, so it is easier for her to pitch things. 

It is a good thing that our space is very limited in this little townhome, so we are forced to let go of things we might try to keep if we had more room.  Somehow the combination of the need to move out a full cabinet due to the addition of the sun room, Mary Ann’s decline in these last few months, my retirement, and just the weight of what we have accumulated has pushed me over the edge of procrastination and into the throes of purging. 

At the moment, we are making some progress.  The task is huge.  I am hoping now that we have started, to keep momentum going even after Lisa and her family have headed back home.  It is much harder to get motivated on my own, and to make enough progress when Mary Ann is awake and in need of my help. 

Tomorrow we plan to continue the task.  I hope it is a productive day.