The man holding my hand on the left is my Pop Pop Link. He was born on January 29th, 1904. We are walking 7th Street in Salem, New Jersey around 1957. My Pop Pop holding my hand was my favorite. Later, as he grew older, he was stricken with dementia, and it was my turn to hold his hand. Last week, while parking my car at #Costco, I noticed an elderly man crying and stumbling while walking, trying to navigate cars in the parking lot. He caught my eye. I followed him for a few minutes, then stopped my car and approached him. “Hi sir. Are you lost?” (with broken English he says — “I’m lost. I can’t find my wife.”) So I say very calmly, “It’s okay. We’ll find her.” I reached out my hand and for the next forty minutes we searched for her - inside Costco, all around the cars, and in and out of the building. We finally just sat and talked. He told me about his daughters, his Romanian descent and his love of Cadillacs. “Oh, I love Cadillacs too. Do you have a Cadillac?” (His eyes lit up like stars! He then shouted, “I remember! I have a blue Cadillac!” So I stood up from the bench and said, “Alexandru?? (I think that’s his name) Let’s go look for your car.” We started to walk, and THIS time - he grabbed MY hand and said, “I see it! I see it!” And sure enough, at the exact time we got to his navy blue Cadillac, his wife arrived with her cart. I hugged Alexandru, told his wife what had happened (she said she ordered him to stay in the car while she shopped—not a good thing). So then I merrily skipped off to go buy a moose-sized bottle of Fish Oil. After all, that’s the whole reason you go to Costco, right? Yep. To buy quantity discounts of all good things, but some things you really don’t need.....but then, just maybe even help a new friend — but holding hands is a must. My take is:
1️⃣ Be aware.
2️⃣ Be willing to help, and ask calming questions.
3️⃣ Call local authorities and First Responders if you see someone who is lost.
4️⃣ Take the time to see through and problem-solve.
5️⃣ Smile and walk away feeling good about yourself, when you take the time to help. ❤️ “I miss you, Pop Pop, but I saw you today in Alexandru. We held hands.” #eldercare #dementia #dementiaawareness #seniorcare #alzheimers