• All manner of folk 16 October 2018 | View comments

  • 16th October 2018 | By David Jolley

    A burst upon us as an angry man – furious at what life has dealt him and his wife, who is three years into dementia while still physically able and in her early 60s. Furious too with doctors who are content to make a diagnosis and offer no ongoing support. Disenchanted with experts who offer courses which begin and end, and cost.

    B came early and joined in setting up for the afternoon. She smiled a lot and was pleased to engage with an older couple. Not quite sure why she was with us, nor about some of the topics, but this felt like good company for a couple of hours.

    C had been encouraged along by his caring wife. He had been reluctant last month so that she came alone. This time he was braver – ‘thinks he might be missing something’ – C also smiled a lot and took opportunity to say a few things.

    D knows about dementia by family experience and professional involvement. He is involved in church dementia-related activities and can share with us information that shows how far churches are indeed taking a more active and well-informed role.

    They were joining a group which has a core that has been here over two years. Here is welcome. Here is understanding. Here is somewhere that will last and live with reality.

    The fiercest exchanges, perhaps the strongest bonds, involve the halves of younger couples – seeking reason – inches from denial that this can really be – putting together a patchwork of caring, coping and cussing but refusing to give up on pleasures shared.

    There are no magic bullets, compliance with the best health promotion advice is no guarantee of avoiding dementia, training regimes can take you only so far – and the pattern of needs moves on, so that continuous rejigging is required. Care plans are what we make ourselves out of whatever strengths we come across.

    Cake, tea and catch-ups are the cement.

    Oh – and we quite like to know about natural remedies that old wives have told us about – and music.

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