Edna wanted to go to Las Vegas and spend her money on the slots and then take in “one of those shows with naked ladies wearing feathered head dresses” because “the place will be crawling with available men.” So we planned a fabulous trip to Las Vegas, where money was no object. Edna just turned 95 and had been happily living in a dementia unit for about 5 years.
The next time I came in to check on her she completely forgot our plan and didn’t recognize me. Each week she was “charmed” to meet me and each week we planned the same trip much to her delight. She was (consistently) thrilled when I told her we would stay in the penthouse suite at the MGM Grand. Her only concern was if they would let her on the plane in a wheelchair. I told her we would take a private wheelchair accessible jet. She predictably clapped her hands over her head as she insisted on getting her hair done first.
Edna had a lifetime of significant hardships she didn’t remember either. Her dementia erased those too. According to her family, she was a defensive suspicious woman, perhaps out of survival. Now she is happy, present and joyous; the real Edna? She is without bad memories or resentments to dwell on and with no baggage to carry (except to Las Vegas).