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CARING FOR THE CONFUSED

The oft-forgotten ministry to those with Alzheimer's.

I have more important things to do than to talk to walls or be yelled at by old men! I thought to myself as I strode out of Whispering Pines Nursing Home and got into my car. It's going to be a long time before I set foot in that place again. . . and it was.

My frustration was partly due to a sense of guilt over my neglect of the three Alzheimer's patients I had just tried to visit. Another part was a feeling of futility.

Ulga, Bill, and Gerald just got crowded out of my heavy schedule most of the time, and my visits to them never seemed productive.

Today, I had found Ulga in her room sitting beside her bed. She was rocking back and forth in her chair (it was not a rocking chair), humming and staring at the wall about six feet in front of her.

"Good morning, Ulga," I said in my most cheery voice. No response. Ulga continued to rock.

I stood in front of her and repeated, "Good morning, Ulga. How are you today?"

Ulga stopped her rocking momentarily, but not her humming. She turned her head in ...

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From Issue:Winter 1993: Conflict
October
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