There’s a novel way to deal with people like me who may soon be faced with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s.
According to the Telegraph in Great Britain, the Benrath Senior Centre in Düsseldorf, Germany had problems with patients wandering off. Residents, because of short term memory loss, inevitably forgot why they had left the facilities.
The solution was to build a fake bus stop. The demented seniors recognized the bus stop and apparently walked over to it to go somewhere.
The joke was on them because no buses stopped. The staff of the center rounded up the confused residents and lured them back to the facility with a promise of coffee and biscuits.
This was a real cost savings since medical personnel don’t have time to chase down old people on the loose.
I’m going to open up a chain of such Senior Centers. They will be called Gotcha.
I know the concept is a winner because when my mother hit 90, a health care specialist suggested I move her out of our home and pop her in a facility where they could strap her down and sedate her.
Her problem was that her short term memory was starting to burn out. (This worked well for me because I could get her to give me my allowance money three or four extra times a month.)
My reason for keeping Mother in our home was that her long term memory was fine and we had not moved the bathroom in 40 years.
She always knew where it and the kitchen was. Also the mailbox and telephone.
She died quite happy at 96 in her home knowing where the bathroom, kitchen, TV clicker and phone were. As a matter of fact, she remembered where all the spices were and could cook chicken better than anyone I ever knew when she was close to a 100.
But getting back to my “Gotcha” rest homes — if we set them up correctly then we could keep costs down.
For example, when we round up the old people and bring them back for coffee we will give them empty cups. When they ask where the coffee is we will tell them they have already drunk it.
Entertainment is important to the elderly so we would have all the current movies screened every night.
Actually, we would simply put up film posters to lure the old people to the theater. They would sit down and we would turn off the lights and the staff would clap and we would then turn the lights back on. We would tell the old people that they had just seen the latest Bond film.
You guessed it, we would sit them down at beautiful tables with sparkling silverware and fine china. We would tell the old people they had just polished off steak and lobster.
This would not only save on food costs but could reduce energy consumption. We would not even need to run dishwashers, come to think of it we would not even need dishwashers. In these energy saving times I think we could expect several community awards.
For those who enjoyed wine we would make certain their tables had bottles of the most expensive brands. Empty bottles that is.
The mind boggles at the amount of money one could save by instigating the theory of the fake bus stop through a growing empire of Gotcha Rest Homes.
Of course some of the old people might still retain a part of their short term memory and become agitated when they twigged to what was going on.
If these trouble makers created any kind of resistance, we would microwave them and explain that the entire group had met and decided through a vote that it was time for trouble makers to be cleansed. (The macro-microwave oven would seat four and resemble a sauna or shower.)
I think we could count on over 90 per cent of the old people to support the non-existent vote since they would have no memory of it and they would be quite appreciative of the excellent steak and fine theater they enjoyed living out their golden years under our compassionate care.
And of course the elderly rabblerousers who had been microwaved and were now more or less toast, would fall into line.
Quick Check for Alzheimer’s
The following was developed as a mental age assessment by the School of Psychiatry at Stanford University.
Take your time and see if you can read each line aloud without a mistake. The average person over 40 years of age cannot do it!
1. This is this cat.
2. This is is cat.
3. This is how cat.
4. This is to cat.
5. This is keep cat.
6. This is an cat.
7. This is old cat.
8. This is fart cat.
9. This is busy cat.
10. This is for cat.
11. This is forty cat.
12. This is seconds cat.
Now go back and read the third word in each line from the top.