Grouchy friend or relative? This might soften them up

“I told her,” Barbara spat, in her thick, Polish accent. “‘You leave your underwear here? Get out of my house!’”

She stuck her chin out in defiance, while I pressed my lips together and tried to look concerned. This was the third time I’d heard this story today. I wasn’t even sure it was true.

It was a Wednesday afternoon, and I was volunteering at the day centre for seniors with dementia. When I’m there, I help with the mechanics, but mostly I come so I can sit and keep the clients company. The range of dementia they suffer from is pretty broad; some can barely string a sentence together. Others seem mostly to be all there – like Barbara.

But she did love to repeat stories about her family.

As well as the niece who got thrown out, we’d hear about her sister – who she’d only refer to as “The Beetch”. As in,

“The Beetch called me today. She thinks she can come and stay with me. Ha! I don’t want you here! Get a hotel!”

I am famously a wildly positive person. I have the word ‘yes’ tattooed onto my finger. My business is called Yes Yes Marsha. I usually have no truck with cynics.

But Barbara?…

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