Twitter | @GrimmPhil

Daughter Leaves Reassuring Whiteboard Notes For Mom With Dementia: 'You're Okay'

A photo of a daughter's reassuring messages for her mom with dementia has gone viral, igniting a global conversation about the heartbreaking condition, the BBC reported.

Written on a whiteboard, the touching notes were photographed by a visiting doctor who then decided to share them online, compelling others to share how they help those closest to them suffering from dementia.

Dementia is a syndrome, not a disease, and is an umbrella term for a collection of symptoms brought on by brain disorders.

Unsplash | Steven HWG

These symptoms include memory loss and difficulty with thinking, problem-solving, or a language.

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If severe enough, a person with dementia may also experience dramatic changes in their mood or behavior.

Reddit | colymoly_guacamole, William Utermohlen

Since it is progressive, the symptoms of dementia gradually get worse and worse as more of the sufferer's brain cells become damaged.

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UK-based GP Dr. Philip Grimmer was visiting a dementia patient in Chippenham when he first saw the whiteboard.

Dr. Philip Grimmer via BBC

"I'd not seen anything like it before in thousands of house visits," he told the BBC. "It's caring, reassuring and sensible — it's just such a simple idea."

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The patient's daughter told Grimmer she had written the board in an effort to reduce "anxious phone calls" made by her mother to relatives.

Reddit | mavi, @sfaux

The reassuring messages were placed in the woman's sitting room, directly in her eye-line where she can always see it.

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Grimmer shared a full photo of the whiteboard and its short, to-the-point notes on Twitter.

As well as assuring her mother that she is "okay," the dementia patient's daughter wrote,

"Your meals are paid for."

"You are not moving."

"No one else is moving."

"Keep drinking, it will help your memory."

"You don't owe anyone any money."

"You haven't upset anyone."

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Shortly after sharing the photo online, Grimmer was stunned to find the whiteboard had manged to go viral, racking up over 40,000 likes.

The physician said he had only intended for his tweet to reach "a few interested colleagues" but never expected other people to react to the post the way that they have.

"[It's] clearly touched people's hearts around the world," he wrote in a follow-up tweet.

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In the comments, users began sharing their own "dementia whiteboards" and other means of reducing stress and anxiety for their loved ones.

"I did similar for my mother," one user wrote. "She had a moderate head injury at the beginning of her decline into dementia. I also put notes into the pockets of all her clothing."

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This wasn't the only way way that people used these messages to help their affected relatives, either.

Reddit | lil-spaghetti

While another shared they did something similar for their own mother and added they also wrote down the day and date on her notes to "help with her dislocation in time and place."

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Each message shared on Twitter offered its respective dementia patient all the information they might struggle to remember themselves, thus reducing any potential anxiety, stress, or fear.

Dr. Grimmer's picture was also shared on Reddit where it earned over 113,000 up votes and even more stories from users who have dealt with people suffering from dementia.

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"I had one resident where I worked who would be in tears because he was worried about his children and having to pay for his meals."

Reddit | happyman91

This comment came from Hailley, a nurse from Canada, who went on to say, "It was sometimes tough to reassure him. We had to call his children to talk to him a few times. It was hard to see him so upset."

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Hailley later told the BBC that she sees people talk down to those with dementia, which she said "is just not right."

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"They are still adults who know when they are being treated differently," she said.

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"People just do not know how to interact with them. It takes patience and you may not be able to have a conversation with them in the same way you would with someone without dementia."

Reddit | Camjilla

Speaking to Dr. Grimmer's photo of the reassuring whiteboard, Hailley said it "addresses what gets asked the most [by those] in long-term care."

h/t: BBC

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