The lady with the big sun hat, looked like she was going to a picnic

She was a mother and a grandmother and had a husband. A husband she was waiting for…..hoping he was coming for a visit. And she looked like she was about 55-years old. We were doing our program in a Dementia Unit in Chester County. Shirley Lynne looked so put together, like she was dressed for a picnic or a stroll on the boardwalk.

Have you seen my husband? Can I leave now? I don’t want to stay in here. Please open the door. I want to go with you.

Shirley, step back away from the door. Your husband  will be coming later. Patricia and Meryl are here to do a program. Sit down now. They will be giving everybody a stuffed animal.

How many stuffed animals can I have? I would like that one and that one and that one. (She took three stuffed animals.)

Yes,  Shirley Lynn was about 55-years-old. I thought of my sisters and cousins and friends in that age bracket. What would you really do if a  person that you knew so well as competent, capable, compassionate and just so “regular” developed dementia at an early age….and was no longer that person – the one that you knew so well. It was heartbreaking to witness.

Meryl and I asked her to help us pass out the stuffed animals and the  tissue paper flowers. She enjoyed that. We walked down the long hallway and smiled and placed a stuffed animal on each lap. Many of the residents had dolls on their laps already.

Sadly, on this floor, many of them hardly noticed us. Dementia is a very cruel “robber” of  life.



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