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Dementia Friends - or the Kindness of Others?

Posted Nov 15 2012 9:30am

HandinHand

My lovely friend  Suzy Webster , brilliant dementia care specialist and trainer for  AgeCymru My Home Life  and the  Butterfly Scheme , told me this story on the phone yesterday. I asked her to write it down for the blog.

And here it is ...

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 beings.

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.

 

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