When Pawpaw suffered a stroke and was diagnosed with dementia at 94, it was his great-grandkids Mera and Bowen who kept him going.
Mera and Bowen, aged three and six respectively, are best friends with their great-grandfather whom they lovingly call Pawpaw. At 94 years old, he was diagnosed with dementia after recently suffering a stroke. At first, the children's parents were concerned that this would affect the relationship he shared with them. However, as time went on, they realized that their bond was as strong as ever. In fact, the young kids were one of the reasons Pawpaw was able to make such a speedy recovery. Now, they spend as much quality time together as possible, reports Good Morning America.
"I mean, they really are best friends," said the children's mother. "They love to garden together, they love to swing together, to sing together. He just gets down to their level and talks with them. Even when they were little, he was just rolling on the floor with them and picking them up... It just bonded them." Evidently, the kids have always shared a formidable relationship with their Pawpaw, making him one of their closest friends. Pawpaw has been there for his great-grandkids through all of life's big moments, as well as the smaller ones. In a video clip, when asked what his favorite thing about Mera and Bowen was, the great-grandfather responded with a cheeky smile, "They are knuckleheads!"
His granddaughter continued, "In his 90s, he still worked out at the gym several times a week. You know, he had started to have a little bit of memory lapse here and there." Things took a turn for the worse in the fall of 2021, when Pawpaw suffered a stroke. "They diagnosed him with dementia," she explained. "And so I was worried that that would kind of hurt their relationship because you know, he would be asking the same questions over and over again. But of course, we had a conversation with the kids about it and it was silly for us to really worry about it." As it turns out, the relationship he shared with his great-grandkids did not change one bit.
The children's mom said, "I mean if anything, it has brought them closer and it has definitely helped him on the recovery front. He is not worried about all the other stuff, he is just worried about being in the moment, just the same way that kids are. And I think that that has a lot to do with why they connect so much. After he got to see them, and the more he got to see them, it was like leaps and bounds. I think that kind of brought to the forefront of his mind... What he had to fight for and be present for."
Those who have had to take care of anyone with dementia are probably aware of how difficult it is to inspire faith and motivation when things get hard. However, with Mera and Bowen by his side, Pawpaw was able to see exactly why he needed to keep pushing. "The hardest part about it is that it won't get better," she went on. "He still, of course, has not-good days. But, at this point, he knows who we are, he knows our names, he knows he loves us, he knows we love him, and that is what matters."