A Gift For A Friend


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Jeff and Bill had become really good friends. Bill had lived at our community for quite a while, and Jeff was a new resident. Although Jeff was more high-functioning than Bill was, they always sat together at mealtimes. The pair chatted on and on about what they did for a living, where they lived, and what their families were like.

Needless to say, neither one worked for a living anymore, nor did either of them live outside our community.

“What do you do for a living again?” Bill would ask.
“I’m an engineer,” Jeff would respond.
“Oh, right, I remember you saying that now,” Bill would reply.

While Jeff was in the earlier stages of dementia, Bill was much more progressed. That did not seem to matter, however—neither Bill nor Jeff noticed the differences between them. 

Yesterday Jeff walked into our office and looked at my friend, our nurse.

“Can you do me a favor?” he asked. “Sure,” she smiled back.
“I want to give my cane to Bill. You know him?” he asked.
“Yes, but you know that Bill doesn’t use a cane, he has a walker,” she responded with a grin.

“Yeah, but I want him to have this as a gift. Can you write on it, ‘To Bill, from your good friend, Jeff’?” he asked, offering up the cane.

“I want him to have it. He’s such a good friend.”

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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 two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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