Mr. W. is an 85 year-old man who lives in an assisted living facility (ALF).
He has severe dementia but it hasn't stopped him from talking.
His social graces are intact and he gets a sparkle in his eye when being engaged in conversation.
He has errors of commission-he answers a question with an answer that has nothing to do with the question that was asked.
"How are you doing today?" I ask.
"You bet I do. Back when I owned a bar in Hartford Connecticut I pretty much did everything so that's why I have 21 shirts now, all different colors for when I worked for the post office and my wife was having an affair and I only get one egg and a piece of toast."
"Are you happy with the food here?" I then ask.
"Not as well as I used too 'cause I've got one bad ear and I like to walk as much as I can and I had a good bowel movement today and I wish we had a television in our room."
This went on for awhile.
"You have a great day!" I say while shaking his hand preparing to leave.
"Are you going to take me with you?" he inquires.
"You have a great day also," I respond with my own error of commission.
He had a big smile on his face when I left.
I was sort of bummed on my way back to the office again trying to contemplate why he doesn't have a family member, somewhere, who would open up their home to him.
I think of this frequently whenever I leave an ALF.