Dementia Friends Champion Helen Morris offers some thoughts on things the rewards of befriending someone living with dementia.
I SHOULD start by saying ‘I am a swat’, a real teacher’s delight as I just love learning!
But what I want to convey this month is the amazing insights you share by being a companion to someone living with dementia. I don’t just mean about the condition, I mean about what makes life meaningful.
One of my best ‘teachers’ fixed me with a deeply alert gaze recently when I suggested we think about what she would really like to do to see if we could make it happen.
She had just answered ‘I really don’t know’ but then she said ‘Don’t you see, that’s the thing – I really don’t know what I want to do?’
I was dumbfounded for a moment, thinking of all the time I spend wishing I could be doing something else, not realizing I was lucky to be knowing what it was I wanted to do.
Sorry if this is getting a bit deep but stick with me. She was expressing her frustration, saying there was just no hope for the future. She is acutely aware that her brain is not functioning as it did.
We picked up the subject of singing and within seconds she was animated and laughing, saying how she loved to sing, provided the person next to her sang loudest so she could belt it out without being heard. So we will sing next week.
However, I am still left with her words and this is why I get cross when people suggest anyone diagnosed with dementia ‘doesn’t know what’s going on anyway so why worry?’
We all need to understand the challenges much better than we do.
Always happy to run a Dementia Friends session just call me on 07976 702171 for details.