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Where Did it Go?

Where Did It Go?

I just put it down here a minute ago. It has to be here. This is something you’ll have to become used to hearing while being a caregiver to a loved one with a dementia related disease.

You may soon find that loved ones have developed a new habit of hoarding or collecting things. They have hiding places so secretive you’ll wish you had thought of them. Dad loved to hoard any book he could grab. You have to learn to go with the flow of things. Hoarding may actually keep them at ease.

My father had a pile of books stacked where he always sat at our kitchen table. If it comforted him to eat surrounded by books, so be it. Eventually I had to install a shelf along the wall at the table so we’d have enough room for two dinner plates, and still be able to see each other.

He and I had been booksellers for many years, so these were items from which he took comfort and also things he could relate to, especially the pricing of them. I had even found our local Yellow Pages priced, ready for sale. So if I found myself missing a book I just had my hands on, there was a 95 percent chance it had become part of his growing collection.

I hate to say this, but if you’re caring for a person with dementia, a time will come when you’ll have to lock certain cabinets or drawers in order to protect and preserve important possessions.

Once, I spent several days checking every crack and crevice throughout our house searching for my missing wallet. When asking Dad over and over if he had seen my billfold, I repeatedly received the same reply, No! I finally had to ask him to stand up. While patting him down, I found my black one in his left back pocket and his brown one in his right.

I know you’re thinking; I should have used common sense and checked his pockets first, but you have to be sensitive in how you handle things. I simply put my newly rediscovered wallet back in my pocket and told him, they look almost identical, patted him on his back and left the matter alone, never to be mentioned again.

Try not to upset those living with dementia. They are always a stone’s throw away from massive depression. They’re storing so much sorrow inside their souls that if they could stash all that emotion, they’d need a bigger hiding place.