How to Diagnose Dementia

Dad's decor

This is how Dad made his bed one morning.

My brother has a little apartment on the grounds of his home and business. Our 83-year-old dad loves staying there when he visits. It’s a bit “rustic,” but it suits him just fine.

Dad had a stroke five years ago which left him with some mental challenges.

He jokes that he “didn’t have good sense” before.

He does some amusing things. On purpose. He loves to amuse himself and to make us laugh.

My brother and I regularly text each other about his antics. Sometimes they aren’t so funny, but often enough, they are.

He recently sent me the above photo taken with his phone.

Last evening while peeling peaches and watching Call the Midwife, I identified with the following dialogue. They were discussing a recent incident which involved an aging member of the convent:

Sister: The truth is, we don’t know if she has dementia or if she is just woefully eccentric.

Doctor: I understand. There are more medical treatises written about senile decay than you can shake a stick at. But I keep to one invariable diagnostic rule: If they’re brought back by a policeman—in their nightie, then they’ve got it.

~Call the Midwife, Season 1, Episode 6

Thankfully, Dad is pleasant company. Most of the time.

More consistently than I am, I’m ashamed to admit.