Flowers, a cake, invitations.

4

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dementia-by-day:

“I need a cab!” he said, motioning to the phone.

“Oh, where do you need to go?” I asked.

“I’m getting married soon,” he smiled. “I need flowers…a cake…invitations…all those things!”

I knew that this eighty-something-year-old man probably wasn’t getting married soon, but that didn’t matter. This was his world, and in his world, he was getting married. I smiled. “That’s great! Who is the lucky lady?” I asked. He announced her name to me with a big grin on his face. “She’s the most beautiful woman in the world,” he said. Suddenly, the concern over getting a cab was gone. Instead, he was focused on telling me about this woman he loved. “Are you married?” he asked me. I laughed, “No, I’m not,” I said, recognizing where this was going. “How old are you!” he asked. “I’m twenty-five.” His eyes widened. “…And you’re not married yet?!” he exclaimed. “You’d better get hitched soon! A man needs a wife, and a woman needs a husband. I don’t want to be alone anymore.”

I could have done a lot of things here. I could have said, “No, I can’t call you a cab…you have dementia!” I could have said, “That doesn’t make sense, you aren’t getting married.” Instead, I took interest in his story, and it made both of our days that much better. I learned something about this man, and was able to live in this beautiful reality that he had constructed. No, he isn’t getting married soon, but in the grand scheme of things that doesn’t really matter.

Featured: My first post on Dementia By Day, back when I only had about 10 followers! Now I have over 500 people on my mailing list and 400 on Tumblr alone. Thanks for following!

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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.

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