Forever Friends: The Story of Esther and Dottie

“It’s important to remember that Alzheimer’s and dementia affect the short-term memory first, so as soon as they saw each other their faces lit up. They recognized each other immediately,”  said Mary Carol.

Mary Carol’s mom, Dorothy, was a resident of Our Family Home when a family member noticed Dorothy’s cousin, Esther, in a photo posted by Our Family Home.

After a few phone calls, Mary Carol came to learn that both her mom and her cousin were residents and living only a block from each other. They quickly worked with the staff at both houses to reconnect them.

“It was so special. They took each other’s hands and recognized each other instantly. They talked about when they were young,” added Mary Carol. “My mom may not remember what she had for breakfast, but it’s amazing to hear her share stories about living on a farm growing up, bringing flowers to market and special lunches with their Godmother.”

Since reconnecting, Dorothy, who is 96 years old, and Esther, who recently celebrated her 101st birthday, continue to visit each other. “We took mom to visit Esther for her 101st birthday in a convertible. It was such a special day. It means a lot to me to see them together.”

While each family took a different route to find Our Family Home, they both believe in the residential home model and the importance of individualized care. “My advice to someone currently looking for care for a family member with memory disease is to find a place, like Our Family Home, that prioritizes respect, honor and love.”

“People often think that individuals with Alzheimer’s are gone, but they’re not. It’s helpful to speak about the past and connect something they are experiencing today with something they may have experienced earlier in their lives. Or, in our case, we were lucky to be able to connect mom with someone from her past.”