“But isn’t dementia care sad?”


Have more questions and don't know where to turn?

Join our community and get access to monthly support calls, an online chat forum for questions, and even monthly 1:1 calls with Rachael! CLICK HERE for more information.

Another short story from my time as a Dementia Care Director

“I am leaving for the day, because my young son is at home with a babysitter,” Agnes told me calmly. “But I just wanted to tell you that I had the best time today, this was just wonderful,” she smiled, motioning to the little kids running in the courtyard.

We had just had an Easter egg hunt, and everything had gone smoothly. Families and staff members had brought their little kids into the courtyard to hunt for the colorful eggs we had hidden with the help of some residents.

Agnes lived at our dementia care community, but she did not know that. Seeing the kids running in our courtyard reminded her of when she had a young son, and her brain created a happy story where she had to head home to greet him.

“I have to make sure I get home and pay the babysitter,” she added.

Agnes’ story was as clear and rational as anyone’s, besides the obvious fact that she couldn’t actually leave. She didn’t have anywhere to go, and had she left, Agnes would have found that her son was a grown adult, and her home was no longer where she thought it was.

There is no doubt that dementia is a complicated, sad group of diseases. I like to think, though, that dementia creates a happy internal world for many of my residents. This world is populated by beloved people and things, because these are the memories that have stayed around. These memories aren’t merely memories for people with dementia—they are real, and present.

No, dementia does not always create a happy world. When it does, though, that world can be just as rich and colorful as any story that you’ve ever read.

Liked it? Take a second to support Rachael Wonderlin on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.

16 things poster
Get the FREE “16 Things” poster!

You're not alone!

Get personal support from Rachael and connect with other Caregivers when you join our community.

16 Things I Would Want If I Got Dementia

Get the FREE “16 Things” poster for your personal use—or better yet—your dementia care community’s staff break room!

I wrote this poem years ago, but to date, it’s the most popular piece I’ve ever created.

When you sign up, you’ll also get access to Rachael’s weekly newsletter so that you can get her top tips, links to new content as soon as it’s released, and special offers directly in your inbox! We’ll never sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

16 things poster
Shopping Cart

Have questions?

Book a Dementia Detective
call and talk to a DBD expert!