For me?

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Yesterday we had a birthday party for every resident who was born in May. I went out and got mini cupcakes for everyone, but I also picked up a birthday card for each of the seven people celebrating a birthday. I then went around and got other residents to sign the cards. Some could still write their names with ease, others needed some help, and some just wanted me to do it for them. We filled the cards up with names, including everyone on the staff who worked yesterday.

I gently woke a resident up from a nap in a living room chair. “We’re having a birthday party for you,” I said. She was immediately thrilled. “For me!” she asked. I brought her into the dining room where the party was and gave her the card we had signed. It was one of a porcupine holding flowers, and the inside read, “Party til you pop!” She laughed and said how cute the porcupine was.

The whole room sang the Happy Birthday song and everyone got a cupcake. I left work happy, but wondering if anyone would remember the party. Today I came in and saw that resident walking around, clutching her walker. The porcupine card was sticking out of her sweater pocket.

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Rachael Wonderlin has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. She owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting company.

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