Even the smallest gestures can have a meaningful impact.
Emma Heming Willis, the wife of actor Bruce Willis, took to Instagram on Monday to share an emotional story about the couple's 9-year-old daughter "looking up fun facts" about dementia for her father, who was diagnosed earlier this year with frontotemporal dementia.
"So, I have to tell you this story, and I'm going to try and do it without crying," Heming Willis said in a video.
The 44-year-old went on to explain that their daughter Evelyn asked her recently, "Did you know that people with dementia can become severely dehydrated?"
"[Evelyn] said, 'I was at school the other day and I had some free time, and I was looking up fun facts about dementia,'" Heming Willis said in the video.
She said the moment was "not funny, but it's kinda funny" because Evelyn shares her father's curiosity.
- 3February 16, 2023
"She really is her father's child, because these two love some, just, random facts," she said.
The model and entrepreneur, who also shares 11-year-old daughter Mabel with Willis, 68, said she praised Evelyn for putting so much effort into understanding the disease.
"I said, 'OK, Evelyn. We will always make sure that Daddy has a bottle of water in hand. Thank you for letting me know.… But that is the most compassionate thing that you can do is to be curious and educate yourself on your dad's disease,'" she said.
Willis' family announced in February that the actor had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, a disorder that damages "neurons in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain," according to the National Institutes of Health.
According to the NIH, "FTD is rare and tends to occur at a younger age than other forms of dementia." Symptoms are "often misunderstood" and can include changes in "personality, behavior and judgment," the NIH states.
The family previously announced in 2022 that Willis, who is perhaps best known for his leading role in the "Die Hard" movie franchise, had been diagnosed with aphasia and was taking a step back from acting.
In addition to Evelyn and Mabel, Willis also shares three daughters, Rumer Willis, 34, Scout Willis 31, and Tallulah Willis, 29, with ex-wife, actress Demi Moore.
At the end of her video on Monday, Heming Willis urged others to take Evelyn's lead when it comes to supporting loved ones with health issues. She said that educating yourself is "one of the most loving and compassionate things we can do."
"So, keep educating yourself, stay curious and remember to hydrate your loved ones," she said.