Grandfather with Alzheimer's Finds New Joy in Life after Befriending a 4-Year-Old Boy

Stephen Thompson
Mar 19, 2022
11:20 P.M.
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A grandfather with Alzheimer's disease and a four-year-old boy made headlines due to their unexpected chemistry. How did they meet? What made them bond easily? Continue reading to find out.


Age is nothing but a number when it comes to friendships and relationships. In 2017, an unlikely but adorable bond was formed between a 76-year-old grandfather with Alzheimer's and a four-year-old boy.

The older man, Doug Cheek, and his little friend, Royal, had met most unpredictably and remained inseparable. Here's everything about the unexpected relationship between the grandfather and the little boy.

Pictures of Doug Cheek and his little friend, Royal |



Like many old and healthy people, Cheek lived happily in Los Angeles, California. He and his wife, Tay, had been married for years, and they loved spending a bunch of their time with their two grandchildren.

Sadly in 2014, Cheek was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and the couple knew they would need extra help. So, they employed Laura Luna, a mom of three with experience in taking care of older adults who have dementia and Alzheimer's disease.




Luna had just started working as Cheek's caretaker when she received an emergency call to visit his home. Unable to find childcare for her little son on short notice, the woman took Royal with her, hoping Tay and Cheek would not consider it unprofessional. Luna explained:

"At first, I was worried about what Doug and Tay might say as I had just started the job and didn't want to seem unprofessional"

On the contrary, the elderly couple loved little Royal, and Tay felt her husband and the toddler had an instant connection. After the first meeting, the bond was so clear that Tay asked Luna to bring her son again.


The mom of three agreed. She explained that Royal did not have any grandparents who lived nearby, so having a grandfather figure would be nice.

For Luna, the bond was formed because having a young person around Cheek made him have a sense of responsibility. She said the pair spoke the same language, and the older man loved teaching her son new things. 




Watching the sweet bond between Cheek and Royal unfold was one of the most beautiful things Luna had ever seen. She was grateful that her little son could significantly impact an older adult.

Since Cheek's diagnosis in 2014, he often got confused, but his best buddy Royal helped as much as possible. They also spent quality time at the beach, playing a memory card game and reading, which kept Cheek's brain stimulated.



Royal also wished to move in and live full-time with Cheek, but it was inconvenient. Nevertheless, Luna was happy to teach her son the importance of service to people through her care-taking job. Most importantly, it taught Royal to be "empathetic and compassionate."

Cheek and Tay were grateful to Luna for bringing her son into their lives, even though they would miss him when he started school. Hopefully, their friendship would last until the couple's last days.


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