I had a surprise phone call yesterday from Nancy, a woman who had attended a workshop I did in Visalia, California four years ago. She just wanted to say hello and tell me that all of the people she had been caring for at that time finally died.

She then said, “I do wonder, though, who is taking care of who now. I think my husband is demented, and he thinks I’m batty. We attended a seminar at one of those continuous care communities about a month ago. The person who did the presentation said that if you are dealing with someone who has Alzheimer’s there are four things things you should never do. The letters spell the word CARE.”

You should not:

C: Criticize
A: Argue
R: Reason
E: Explain

Nancy went on to tell me that she and her husband have had a great month. She thinks it’s because she’s been practicing this technique on him, and she’s pretty sure he’s been practicing it on her.

Although I have no memory of meeting Nancy, and I wouldn’t know her if she came to my front door, I was delighted to hear from her. I was touched that she wanted to say hello and that she thought I would like to hear about a way to CARE for a loved one who has dementia.

Her husband may be a little demented, and she may be a teensy bit batty, but the fact that she cared enough to pick up the phone and tell me something she thought would help me help others, made me smile all day.