A Mother's Touch

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Every so often, Bill will come walking into our office. Our office door is always open, so it is not uncommon for residents to come in and out. Bill, though, has been very attentive recently. He is probably one of the sweetest men on the planet, too, so this is a welcomed visit.

“Wow, I really like this carpet,” Bill said, admiring the old carpet on our office floor. He wasn’t being sarcastic—he genuinely liked the carpet.

Bill had a way of finding beauty and happiness in everything he did. He constantly had a smile on his face. 

Lately, he has been coming into the office and talking about his mom. He believes that she is still alive and that she lives nearby. “My mother plays piano, but I don’t,” he said recently. “She’s a really good piano player.”

We always embrace his reality and ask him more about what his mother does. Talking about his ongoing life with his mom makes him happy—much happier than if he realized the truth.

“Did you guys put this carpet down?” he asked us.

“No,” I smiled back. “Someone else did.”

“Well, it just looks great,” he said. “This whole office space is great. I think my mom would like it,” Bill nodded. “When I was growing up she always decorated the house really nicely. That’s what you need—a mother’s touch.”

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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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