Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New Year’s Eve Party, Alzheimer’s Dementia Poem

Being in the moment can bring great awareness. As a hospice volunteer in Detroit nursing homes, I learned a lot from quietly listening, observing and analyzing. Many residents had dementia, and I valued their thought-provoking interpretations of reality and unique forms of expression. I wrote Mealtime Party after participating in numerous mealtimes and parties with residents. This carefree poem includes combinations of actual scenarios that took place. What do I know for sure? I know I visited weekly an Oz I respected and became a better person. Join Lurania and her nursing home friends. Today, Lurania gives someone else her name and hosts an imaginary party for herself.

     Mealtime Party

     “Come to your party, Lurania! Have some tacos!
     We’re singing in Spanish!” Lurania exclaims.
     Her two-part conversations go back
     and forth like a tennis match with one player.
     Today, Lurania gives someone else her name
     and hosts an imaginary party for herself.

     Next to Lurania sits sleeping Mary.
     A purring snore drifts from her open mouth,
     a canon too tired to fire. She searched
     all morning for her slippers
     until she found them on her feet.
     Now, she salsas in her dreams.

     “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5...!” yells John, who thinks
     Lurania's party is on New Year’s Eve.
     He holds up his milk carton and shouts,
     “Happy New Year!” John knows
     the wish everyone wants to hear
     as 12:00 noon begins another year.

     Grace still wears the glow of a woman
     who’s been in love. Her so-called boyfriend,
     a nurse aide sixty years her junior,
     blushed when told of her romantic fantasy.
     Even though she “dumped” him,
     their friendship will be a lasting flower.

     “You know, Olga has been my sister
     all my life,” Miller announces. I remind him
     that yesterday Olga brought him
     a chocolate chip cookie. Miller flaunts
     a grin, satisfied that the streetcar
     of his life looks great, rides just fine.

     “Everybody can come! Lurania's parties
     are wonderful!” Lurania hollers, intoxicated
     with laughter resonating like a trumpet.
     Everyone should come and marvel
     at the magnificence of minds that dance,
     turn somersaults to create happy realities.

© Frances Shani Parker (poem excerpt from Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes)

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog


  1. Interesting perspective on New Years and very telling about dementia.

  2. Thanks, Scott, and have a happy new year!


  3. Thank you fro sharing. :)

    1. Thank you for dropping by. I wish you every flavor of joy in 2017.