The patient had a diagnosis of dementia, was withdrawn and very hard of hearing - almost deaf. On her 100th birthday, our Nursing Assistants, Kirstie & Whitney, were trying to tell her, “Today is your birthday! Happy Birthday!”
They tried for a long time, but she could never hear them, nor understand. Finally, they got paper and a Sharpie, and wrote out, “Happy birthday, today is your birthday.”
When they held up the paper, she slowly began to read it out loud. This is a patient who rarely spoke. She read, slowly, “Happy….birthday….today…is…your….
birthday.” They said she then lit up, looked at them and said, “Today is my birthday?”
They nodded “yes.” They said she seemed to “come alive.” For the rest of the day, she told everyone who passed, “Today is my birthday.” She repeated that phrase over and over.
This awareness triggered a memory, and made a connection, and seemed to give the patient a purpose. For the next two months, she was livelier.