Scott, the girl's father, doesn't think he is her dad and struggles when she calls him dad but knows they're related.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 22, 2022. It has since been updated.
The experience of having a loved one with dementia is incredibly distressing for both the individual experiencing it and the people who care about them. When it happens to a parent, it may be especially tough for an adult child to see their memories and the person they once were fade away. One such daughter, Bailey, posted a TikTok video of a difficult conversation she had with her dad, who has dementia. Scott, the father, doesn't think he is her dad and struggles when she calls him dad. However, he can still see that she means something unique to him, and it's so lovely to see him express that.
"I LOVE YOU SCOTT":— GoodNewsMovement (@GoodNewsMoveme3) August 25, 2022
Scott has dementia and was starting to feel anxious. Listen to this beautiful exchange that develops when his daughter tenderly explains who he is and who she is. (🎥:baileyrosek) pic.twitter.com/MO97nWX0xg
In the video, captioned "Some days are easier than others.. I miss you dad, but I love you very much, Scott," Scott says that although he doesn't understand why or how he has "feelings" for his daughter. He is aware that he knows her and that she is significant to him. She states in the video, "In my mind and in my heart, you're my dad, and you will always be my dad." It makes him uncomfortable for her to call him dad, but he accepts her offer to refer to him as Scott rather than Dad to help him feel more at ease. "I love you too," her dad tells her. "We're family."
The TikTok user has been sharing her father's journey with dementia on the social media platform. It seems that Scott has Wernicke's encephalopathy, caused by alcoholism, and Bailey and her sister are his primary caregivers. In a video, she shared that Scott forgets her on many days. Sometimes, Bailey shares, it's good for her to show pictures of them together. In the most heartwarming part of the video, he looks at pictures of them together and after he recognizes that she really is his daughter, Scott asks her if he has hurt her feelings. She responds calmly, "No you haven't hurt my feelings. I'm just trying to give you some clarity."
Bailey, along with her sister Paige, became Scott's full-time caregiver in February when she welcomed her dad to her home after he'd been in an accident. She organized a GoFundMe to fundraise for the expenses of her dad's care. "He was diagnosed with dementia along with a few other things that have made him permanently disabled. He will need 24/7 care, and since I am already a caregiver for my mom, he is coming to live with me." She explained that his apartment got destroyed and everything in it as well, and since he does not have insurance, the bills would be extremely high.
"I love my dad, with his brain damage he will no longer be able to work. His short-term memory is dwindling and I want him to be comfortable for the rest of his life," she concluded, asking everyone to contribute and help amplify the fundraiser.
I lost my dad back in February. Tragically his type of dementia took his ability to speak and respond to people. This is so beautiful and where I didn't have to have this conversation as much, I miss any conversation at all. Well done Bailey. Your dad loves you as did mine.— Drew Libowsky (@TheBigLibowsky) August 25, 2022
On TikTok, Bailey's documentation of her journey with caregiving helps a lot of people. In turn, she frequently uses advice from people on the platform and has a tightly-knit support system online. The video with Bailey explaining to Scott that they're related has been making rounds on social media with many users commending the patience a caregiver requires to handle a family member with dementia. User Joshua Frazier comments on Reddit, "Man this is heartbreaking to watch. I've worked with patients with dementia or Alzheimer's and it is very difficult work. I can't imagine what the family is going through, but it's clear to me that Scott is engulfed in love. What a beautiful video." Another user commented, "What a wonderful person. That even not knowing who he is, his first thought is compassion. <3. Making sure that he’s not hurting her feelings, saying that she’s important to him."