Road trip! Visiting sisters! Getting Mom's floppy mop shorn and shaped! Should be a winner of a day, right? Well, not exactly. It wasn't a terrible day, she just woke up with a bout of the Gloomy Gusses that clung to her frame until bedtime. So, no ray-of-sunshine companion for me as we tripped up and down I-5, and it took some doing to keep her in the salon chair for her haircut, but my Aunt Butchie (beautician extraordinaire and the reason all us cousins had the exact same haircut as kids), handled her sister with humor and grace. That is, until the end when Mom decided she had definitely had enough...
As I watched Butch try to out maneuver Mom to get that last nape trim in, I considered helping her out... or just stand by filming while secretly judging her various tactics and strategies. Obviously, I chose the latter. I mean, I am my mother's daughter, and inherited her judgey-ness, but I was also simultaneously impressed with my aunt's finesse and knowledge of when to call it good.
And then it hit me - an utterly BRILLIANT IDEA!
Okay, now stick with me, kids. I know initially it sounds pretty crass and tactless. But think about it; an annual, nationwide event where caregivers and their dementia partners compete to complete basic services such as haircuts, meal preparation, teeth brushing, etc. A wealth of tips and tricks would fly into our eyeballs as Care Partner Teams were judged on Speed of Completion, Task Executed with No Cursing or Crying (from either partner), and the obligatory Overall Kindness Strategy (to appease the family-friendly crowd). How can this not be a grand idea?
Accolades would be crazy huge gold medals, and the same cash award of $25,000 as that world-renowned, way less thrilling, Olympics doles out. (The equivalent of about 4 months rent in memory care - a fact that will hopefully shock our non-dementia counterparts into some kind of action.)
I'm thinking this is a major awareness-raising event (and not just the obvious awareness-raising that I've clearly lost my f'ing mind - seriously, stone cold sober when I thought of this magnificent debacle). We could land a network contract for broadcast, get big, big sponsors (I'm looking at you, Depend® ... call me!), have a kicking half-time show, all while learning a new trick or two from the competitors, and showing the rest of the world how miraculous it is when a care partner team gets through a day, any day, without throwing each other off a cliff!
And as far as crass and tacky goes, that's kinda what we do best as a species. How else do you explain reality TV, glitter butts (yeah, it's a thing), or the current denizens of the White House? We've manage to mainstream way worse, so I think it'll be okay.
Besides, I betcha' there's some caregiver out there right now sitting in front of a delightfully vulgar velvet painting, bedazzling the backsides of her bluejeans, thinking "You know, me and my dementia person have some real good days where we could totally smoke the other care partner teams. Let's do this!"
No? Nobody? Oh, c'mon people! I can't be the only one!
Okay, well maybe it is a little too abhorrent for prime time, but I tell 'ya what, if I get stricken with the Big D someday I'm totally pulling Dementia Olympics together. That is, if I can still remember to do so.