I am hearing a lot about dementia friendly communities and
dementia friends lately. Of course I am all for it, my Mum is 65 years old and
lives with dementia. I would love her to be surrounded by people who are
dementia aware. Shops, restaurants, pubs, buses, schools, and now we come to
mention it, even care homes and hospitals! But actually what I am thinking is
what we all need is kindness, pure and simple genuine care for other human
On Sunday, my husband arrived home hand in hand with a man
who attends a Singing for the Brain group that I co-facilitate. He had found him cold, walking
alone and it was starting to get dark. The man was lost. He said to my husband,
“I’m all mixed up like a dinner!”
My 7 year-old gave him some biscuits as I contacted his
wife. Understandably, she was at her wits' end and very grateful to hear that
her husband was safe and coming home with us.
She told us they had been gardening together. “I must have
turned my back for a minute and he had gone.” He had been missing for over an
hour, she said, and the police were on their way round to interview her.
I then received a call from another member of our singing
group concerned for the same man. She had seen him walking along alone and wanted to his wife's phone number. She told me that her mother had lived with dementia and had
been assisted home by others when appearing to be lost in the local area, so she
knew the situation well.
On Sunday, both people who chose to help the man who was
lost were aware that he had dementia. However, they had not been on any
dementia training, or signed up to a government initiative. They were just doing the right thing, from the kindness of
their hearts. This is not something that can be taught, but something that can
be demonstrated and encouraged as a way of life.