Family turns home into aquarium for grandma with dementia

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one family in Australia set out to create a delightful, at-home underwater experience for their loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

For Mother’s Day, members of the ven Genderen family taped up long strips of white paper on the windows of 87-year-old Hendrika van Genderen’s home. The family then used a projector to display images of enchanting underwater life.

In a video featuring the dazzling maritime display, Jason ven Genderen, Hendrika’s son, walks his mom down an outside staircase. The family makes sure that Hendrika is nice and comfortable, offering her a blanket and refreshments, before the aquarium comes to life.

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“Ooh, that’s unbelievable,” Hendrika says, marveling at the fish swimming past her windows. “I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it and it’s so beautiful.”

“I don’t think you will ever forget this,” she adds.

The idea for the aquarium stemmed from cherished childhood memories of Jason’s of when their family would take regular trips to the Sydney Aquarium. He says he captured the event on video to help his mom relive it as many times as she wanted.

This isn’t the first special family feat the ven Genderens have performed for Hendrika. Last week, the family recreated the experience of shopping at a supermarket within Hendrika’s home, as she is self-isolating due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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