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A little thing can mean so much

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carers, dementia awareness

Many years ago, before we had any idea of what our own fate might be, we were slightly acquainted with a man and his wife, a very quiet couple, who regularly attended the same church as us. We began to see a gradual, then marked, changed in the wife's look and demeanour, and it dawned on me one day that I had not seen themat all for quite a while, I made enquiries, and learned that she, J, was in the throes of Alzheimers, and could not/would not ever sit down, but just walked in endless circles round the house. It was not safe for her to be left alone, so husband, F, never left the house, except when his son was able to get up from south of the country. A neighbour was doing errands for him, but he was a prisoner in his own home.

We found out where they lived, knocked on the door, and asked F if he would like us to sit withJ one Sunday, so that he could get to the service.

F just broke down and sobbed. This set us off, so the three of us stood in a puddle of tears on his doorstep, all unable to speak, but F's nods conveyed that our offer was accepted!

As we got to know F,we learned that he, now old and tired, and J (MBE!), now frail and lost, were people of great intellect. We also learned that F  had enjoyed playing bowls at his local club, and so asked him if he would like us to sit for a couple of hours a week so that he could have a game.

More tears, more nods!

J died a merciful and peaceful death, and F died shortly afterwards. (Broken heart? Will we ever know?) At his funeral, I learned from an out of area relative, who had phoned him every week, that F told him constantly that it was only looking forward to these outings which “kept him going”.

Such a small effort on our part, yet seemingly it made such a difference to him.

Could you make a difference to anyone you know? Why not try it? (With us if you like!)

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Sally

As it is not easy to get out for any length of time, I now do most of my non-food shopping on line.

Generally speaking, this works very well, and I have mostly good experiences.

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A young neighbour, mother of two pre-school children, said to me “Sally, you are always smiling. I just don't know how you do it!”

Well, neither do I actually. But I'm a carer. It's what you are supposed to do.