Elsie & The Boy Who Wasn’t There

4

Have more questions and don't know where to turn?


Join our community and get access to monthly support calls, an online chat forum for questions, and even monthly 1:1 calls with Rachael! CLICK HERE for more information.

Elsie had been acting strangely for a couple days now. It was our morning meeting, and the team had assembled in the dining room to talk about our residents. 

I liked this practice: it gave us a chance to talk about each resident, which made everyone in the community important. Every resident was spoken about, and every staff member was there to comment.

Elsie had managed to stay in the dining room, and, as was the practice, we didn’t ask her to leave. We carried on with our meeting, using only first names for residents.

Elsie had Alzheimer’s disease and was generally very high-functioning. She could get herself dressed, participate in activities, and walk without much assistance.

Today, however, Elsie was off.

“Can someone get this little boy a glass of water?” she asked, nicely. Elsie patted the invisible boy on the head. “What a nice young fellow you are,” she smiled.

“And…we need to get her checked for a UTI,” I said, nodding to Elsie. “Can someone get her friend a glass of water?”

A couple of the staff members looked at me strangely. “But, there’s no–” one started. 

“Yes, I know, but I’m sure Elsie would like the water, anyway,” I explained. 

One of the CNAs dutifully went into the kitchen and brought out a glass of water, which Elsie held to the invisible boy’s lips. (Thankfully, she didn’t hand it to him.)

Normally, Elsie did not hallucinate, so we knew something was wrong. As it turned out, she did indeed have a UTI (urinary tract infection) and this was causing a good deal of extra confusion. Here’s a quick article with more info on this topic.

Liked it? Take a second to support Rachael Wonderlin on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

16 things poster
Get the FREE “16 Things” poster!

You're not alone!

Get personal support from Rachael and connect with other Caregivers when you join our community.

16 Things I Would Want If I Got Dementia

Get the FREE “16 Things” poster for your personal use—or better yet—your dementia care community’s staff break room!

I wrote this poem years ago, but to date, it’s the most popular piece I’ve ever created.


When you sign up, you’ll also get access to Rachael’s weekly newsletter so that you can get her top tips, links to new content as soon as it’s released, and special offers directly in your inbox! We’ll never sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

16 things poster
Shopping Cart

Have questions?

Book a Dementia Detective
call and talk to a DBD expert!