You never know what someone will remember


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I loved the first community where I worked. I enjoyed spending time with the residents there, especially the people who sat on the couches that were outside my office. There was a piano in the corner, and it was quite popular among the residents. 

One day, I was rearranging the space, and decided the piano needed to be moved. I pushed it about five feet to the right, moving it alongside another wall. It looked much better, and was out of the way of potential foot traffic.

My residents could barely remember what had happened five minutes prior, but damn, did they remember that piano’s previous placement.

“Hey! I liked that piano back where it was!” Lucille called to me. 
“Did you move that piano?” Dot asked. “I really liked it where it was.”

For three whole days, my residents hounded me about that piano.

I couldn’t believe it! Their short term memories were really impaired, but this piano became a thing of fixation.

I was just about to move it back, when, finally, they stopped bringing it up. I breathed a sigh of relief—that piano was heavy. That was really my first lesson in, “You never know what someone will remember.”

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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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