Every Friday I play bingo with my memory care residents from about 2:15-3:30. Nothing fancy like playing for "4 corners" or "postage stamp", as just remembering where the "B" and the "I" are located is enough mental work. Usually we have a pretty quiet game, with some singing in between the rounds, but today things got changed up a bit.
A new couple moved into our home, and my boss asked me if I would please take the wife to memory care with me to play bingo, as she thinks she would really benefit from it. I walked over to their apartment, knocked on the door and was introduced to one of the happiest ladies I had ever met. I have certainly never seen dementia in this form before! She was laughing at everything that I said, and with a little coaxing from her husband and I, I got her to join me for the afternoon. All the way there her eyes were glowing with excitement, and she was just overflowing with joy. Her laughter was certainly contagious and, looking back at the experience, was a blessing in disguise.
She settled right into our memory care family, and the game got started. I put her next to a "Alice", a down to earth, genuine ex- one room school teacher, farm wife and mother of 6 boys. "Alice" 's eye sight is even better than mine, and when it comes to games and instructions, she follows them to a "t" and often "teaches" and coaches the other residents who struggle. Well, the new resident (we'll call her "Iris") told me that she had never played bingo before, so I knew that setting her next to "Alice" would probably be helpful move. Boy, was I wrong.
I don't know if any of you have called bingo before, but after awhile it gets pretty boring and annoying. After every single number I called out, Iris would repeat it several times and giggle in between. After looking under the free space and every other spot that was already filled for the number that was last called, she finally decided that she certainly doesn't "have that one this time". Well, the ex- one room school teacher was about ready to tear her hair out after the above described incident happened after every single number was being called. "No, no, NO! Here's the "B"! Now, the number called was 15, but you have 19, so you don't have that number this time!"
To top it all off, I had another resident calling a resident a "dummy" because he wasn't playing his card ( and isn't even capable of doing so). "Ya dummy! Didn't you hear her? I 25, you have that one, it's right here! Geez." Down the table, I hear another resident whom I have deemed the "ham" of our group, pipe up with "Do you have an "O Shucks"? ". Needless to say, the game was cut short by about 25 minutes. For the record, 3 games were played in over an hour's time. To put it in the words of Iris "Ha ha! I think I'm losing my mind!" Yeah, well, you aren't the only one.