Caregiver and Poet inspired by her father with dementia
Author: Kelly DuMar’s is a caregiver and poet inspired by her father who has dementia. She is also kind enough to share her thoughts and feelings that inspire her with us.
In a striking poem recently published by Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, “Mystery Shopper in Memory Care,” Ms Dumar speaks about the confusion and dismay that can haunt a loved one with dementia when the present is so different than their memories of the past.
Kelly says, “If you care for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you’ve probably noticed his or her concern and confusion about money. Many of my poems are inspired by visiting my father in memory care assisted living, including “Mystery Shopper in Memory Care.”
My father is anxious about not having money on hand to pay for his meals – which seem to him to be served in a restaurant, or for his lodging, which seems to be in a sort of hotel.
His lifelong habit of providing for his family lingers in his consciousness as his cognitive powers decline. When my father lived independently he always made sure he had his wallet with him when we took him to doctor appointments so he could treat us for lunch at Panera, or pay for his own sundries at CVS.
Now, he doesn’t remember that for many months his money has been managed entirely by my sister. On a recent ride back to memory care from the doctor, when I stopped to buy us some treats, he was upset he didn’t have his wallet with him and couldn’t pay. I reassured him I had it covered. But I made sure to thank him for his spirit of generosity – and let him know I realize his desire to show his love through generosity is intact.
Mystery Shopper in Memory Care
I forget what you came for. But I can’t pay you for it
because my wallet is no bigger than a breadbox. So
maybe you’ve seen it? See? Crumbs in my pockets
where there must have been crackers or coins and keys
to a castle. Maybe you’ve seen them? My money must
have slipped my mind into your bank account and I need
to make a deposit. Will you remind me what do I owe and
what I don’t own? Lots of things belong to anybody around
here, so it’s a cheap store for bargains. There are plenty of
rooms like this to go into. You can always find someone
to belong to. But I have been missing who you are.
Copyright 2014 by Kelly DuMar