03 Aug I Wonder as I Wander
Christmas is 5 months away and yet I woke up today hearing the voice in my head of my choir directing mom singing, “I Wonder as I Wander.” I joined in singing the song myself.
I get to work with people who are too often labeled as “wanderers.” One of the SPECAL® Method mantras of the Contented Dementia approach I love to teach is “Think normal first.” Think about what it’s like when facts of what we are experiencing store normally and sequentially…when we have access “to know” what we have just been doing.
So, thinking normally, don’t we all WANDER sometimes? When we are WONDERING what to do next, we may walk around until we figure it out. Imagine not knowing what we just did, however. If I don’t know what I just did, I would certainly wonder what I should do next. I’d likely get up and walk around until I found something to prompt me. I might rummage through my calendar to try to figure it out. (Yes, I still use a paper calendar.) Maybe I’d even look for someone who could give me a clue!
For our friends striving to live well even when recent facts are no longer storing efficiently, even when they need a clue about what’s next?, their WANDERING is telling us they are WONDERING. Let’s walk alongside them and wonder with them. Wonder at the beauty to the right and the humor to the left. Wonder with them at what “we” are doing next—give them a clue, “oh, it must be time for dinner soon.” Maybe then we could engage them in something meaningful, some way to help. Even if we don’t know what’s next, we can reassure them, “we’re doing it together” whatever it may be. A smile, hug, or a hand to hold, could even be the gentle reminder to both of us that wandering together is better than wondering alone.
Cyndy Hunt Luzinski, MS, RN
Executive Director, Dementia Together