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Woman shares a heart-wrenchingly beautiful exchange with her dad who has dementia

The love is there, even if he doesn't remember why.

Woman shares a heart-wrenchingly beautiful exchange with her dad who has dementia

It's helpful to see examples of loving a family member through dementia.

Any family who has had a loved one suffer from dementia knows how incredibly difficult it can be. The CDC estimates that 5.8 million people in the United States have Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, which means many millions more are serving as caregivers for family members with dementia.

Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia, but there are others. For instance, alcohol abuse can cause dementia, which is what happened to the father of a woman named Bailey who has been sharing their mutual journey on TikTok.

Bailey's dad, Scott, was diagnosed with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (caused by vitamin B1 deficiency due to alcohol abuse) earlier this year, and he has been living with Bailey for the past six months. In her videos, Bailey gives glimpses of daily life with her dad and the ups and downs of helping him manage a life with missing memories.


One thing Bailey's videos show is that dementia is not a one-size-fits-all condition. As with most people with dementia, Scott has good days and bad days, but his ability to communicate what he's feeling even when he's confused is quite incredible.

Not being remembered by your own parent, however, isn't easy. And figuring out how to communicate with a loved one who doesn't know who you are without scaring or confusing them further is a huge challenge. But Bailey shared an exchange with her father that beautifully illustrates how their emotional connection is still there, even if he doesn't remember why.

In the video, Scott tells Bailey that her calling him "Dad" freaks him out. He says he has feelings for her and knows that she is important to him, but that he doesn't think he's her dad. He also says he doesn't want to hurt her feelings. She explains how she feels about him and offers to call him Scott if he prefers, and the whole interaction is just beautiful.

Watch:

@baileyrosek

Some days are easier than others.. i miss you dad, but i love you very much, Scott. #dementiaawareness #wernickesencephalopathy #caregiversoftiktok #parentofmyparents

"Some days are easier than others," Bailey wrote in the caption. "I miss you dad, but I love you very much, Scott."

Seeing Bailey's family navigate the hard parts as well as the healing that has come from Scott's illness is truly eye-opening. Those who are going through a similar journey might find inspiration in how they communicate with one another and those who haven't seen much dementia firsthand can learn what it might look like.

Of course, each person's experience is unique and you can't always apply what works for one person to another, but there's a lot all of us can learn from witnessing others handle something so difficult with grace and patience and love.

@baileyrosek

I love you dad. If you haven’t yet, go hug your parents/loved ones today. #dementiaawareness #youarenotalone #ilovemyparents #fyp #fatherdaughterlove

Bailey's family has experienced a change in Scott's behavior that has actually been positive in some ways. She has said he has become more pleasant to be around, and some of her videos showing his emotional accessibility and willingness to apologize for hurtful things he'd done are so moving.

@baileyrosek

People change and we believe in second chances. As sad as this has been, it’s a second chance for all of us 🤍#caregiversoftiktok #foryoupage #wernickekorsakoffawareness #tbisurvivor #parentofmyparents #ilovemyfamily

And Bailey's way of entering his world, helping him figure out what's real when he's open to it and going along with where and who he thinks he is when correcting him would just cause more confusion is a masterclass in communicating with someone with dementia. It can't be easy, but she excels at it.

@baileyrosek

Replying to @hiddenstyle4 we have happy convos all the time! :) #caregiversoftiktok #dementiaawareness #wernickesencephalopathy #wetbrain #parentofmyparents

Thanks to Bailey for being vulnerable enough to share her family's experiences so the world can see examples of patiently loving someone through dementia, and so those who are going through something similar know they are not alone.

All images provided by Kat Chao

A photo of Kat and her mom, and a bowl of her mom's famous curry

True

Whether it’s the mac n’ cheese that reminds you of simpler times, or the exotic spiced chicken recipe you acquired from your travels, every meal tells a story.

This rings especially true for people whose families immigrate to different countries to start a new life. Immigrant parents often not only save every penny, but spend most of their time away working in order to build a future for their children. Each comfort meal they manage to provide their kids in the very few spare hours they have tells the story of love and sacrifice.

For Kat Chao, that meal was her mother’s Korean curry.

korean foodA photo of baby Kat and her mom and dad

Growing up, Kat’s mom worked weekends to support her family. But that didn’t stop her from waking up Saturday morning to dice up some beef and fresh veggies and throw them into a large pot so that Kat’s dad could heat it up and serve it with some rice to her and her brothers later.

Curry was a quick, easy and inexpensive way to feed a full house, but it served more than just practical purposes. As Kat would wake up to the enticing aroma, she was reminded that her mom was always taking care of her, even if she couldn’t physically be there.

koran curryYUM

As Kat grew a little older, her attitude towards her mother’s curry shifted. Instead of looking forward to it, she would “roll her eyes at it,” as is customary of the rebellious teen. Those less-than-positive feelings were only exacerbated by the media constantly labeling carbs, therefore rice, as “bad.” As a kid who struggled with weight, her comfort food became a source of discomfort.

But as an adult, and now a mom herself, Kat has reached a full circle moment.

korean recipes, albertsonsKat, all grown up with her own familiy

As she makes her own kids the exact same curry dish (okay, maybe a leaner cut of beef, and organic veggies…but otherwise exactly the same!) Kat finds a whole new appreciation for the recipe, knowing how hard her mom worked to even make it happen.

Kat was lucky to have grown up with a meal to look forward to each night. Other kids aren’t so lucky. 1 in 8 kids currently experience food insecurity in the United States. But there’s an opportunity to decrease those numbers.

For every O Organics product you purchase, the company will donate a meal to someone in need through the Albertsons Companies Foundation—for up to a total of 28 million meals.

Is there a dish from your childhood that you’ve longed to rekindle with? You could do like Kat does and give it an O Organic twist. Luckily, the O Organics brand has a wide array of affordable ingredients, so creating healthy swaps is easier than ever. Plus, you can provide nourishment to another family at the same time.

Just think—the next meal you prepare could make all the difference to someone else. If every meal tells a story, that’s certainly a story worth telling.

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