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Local father-son duo go viral on TikTok highlighting reality of dementia

By Velena Jones

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    ELK GROVE, California (KOVR) — A local father and son duo is going viral. What started as a quarantine hobby has become a window into life with a loved one who has dementia.

Images shared to Dan Salinger’s 427.7k followers are not another TikTok trend but instead are dozens of videos showing a snapshot of this Elk Grove family’s reality.

“I think a lot of people see their own parents, grandparents and would like to take care of them. Grandpa [Ed] seems to be dealing with his dementia gracefully, especially what I’m putting on TikTok are his good moments and people relate to it. It’s a very difficult thing to deal with and the alternative is to put him into a memory care,” said Dan.

With 4.4 million likes and some videos reaching nearly 10 million views, Dan Salinger is documenting his father Ed’s journey with dementia for the world.

“It’s kind of surreal at this point. When you are talking about in the numbers of millions its hard to grasp that,” explained Dan.

Videos show their day-to-day from car rides to candid conversations.

“We kind of have to make light of it at times because if you didn’t inject humor, it would almost be unbearable to deal with on a daily basis, and for whatever it is, people seem to be drawn to him,” Dan said.

His father is just one of more than 6 million Americans with dementia, which is why Dan thinks these videos mean so much to others.

“fifty- or sixty-thousand comments, I can’t go through them all. So, I try to find the comments where it is somebody else that just lost a parent, or dealing with this,” he said.

With Ed’s 90th birthday coming in March, Dan put out a request on social media for fans to send in cards and the response so far has been overwhelming. Cards have come in from states around the nation, Sweden, the Secret Service and even the White House.

“Well I think that’s wonderful. I did not know that. Why would they like a guy like me? What did I do?” questioned Ed.

While Ed may forget things from time to time, his sense of humor remains.

“You’re going to be 90,” Dan told Ed.

“90? Oh, I thought I was going to be 27. Oh my God! Why did you have to tell me 90?” Ed responded.

A TikTok time capsule is preserving memories they hope help others.

“If it causes a few more people to take their parents in, I think that would be a great positive,” said Dan.

Ed has already received more than 100 cards. If you want to send him a birthday wish, you can send cards to Ed c/o Salinger Law Group 9132 Elk Grove Blvd, Elk Grove CA 95624.

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