"Banty Rooster": A Show of Spirit in the Face of Alzheimer's Disease

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • Just when I thought that all semblance of a logical conversation with Mom was gone due to Alzheimer’s disease, Mom comes up with a surprise – and a funny one, at that.

    On Saturday when I visited, Mom was very confused. She told me that she was anticipating a visit by her ex-husband and his wife; for the record, my parents are not divorced, and Dad tries to visit pretty regularly.

    Mom also told me that she attended the Kentucky Derby in the morning and she had bet on the winning horse. As I tried to converse with her about these topics, she circled the conversation around and finally told me that I had been the one who told her about the Derby (which I hadn’t) and that she and Dad were still together.
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    So when I went back for another visit a day later, I was pleasantly surprised to find Mom to be fairly lucid. She carried on a conversation with me and was even able to follow along fairly well when the activity director joined us at the table.

    The activity director mentioned how she enjoyed talking to my father and how he was a sharp and funny guy. After Mom agreed with the sentiment, the activity director suggested that we shouldn’t tell Dad about this unsolicited praise. With a glint in her eye, Mom concurred because “He’d become a banty rooster.”

    Mom, the activity director and I enjoyed a chuckle at the image of Dad strutting around like a rooster based on this praise (and my father got a good laugh when I shared the story with him that evening). I also left my visit with Mom feeling pleased to know that (at times) she is relatively present and still makes appropriate comments that showcase the ***** with which she’s lived her life.
Published On: April 24, 2007