Magic Moments for Barbara, who lives with Alzheimer’s
The next instalment in our Magic Moments blog series shines the spotlight on our lovely client Barbara, who has Alzheimer’s and the sunniest of dispositions.
Barabara’s journey with dementia began just a couple of years ago with a remote diagnosis at the start of the first Covid-19 lockdown. Her husband John had noticed the signs for a while, but dementia can be a difficult topic to broach with a loved one.
The couple, who live in Sutton, Macclesfield, met and married in their early 20s and went on to have three children and five grandchildren, as well as a successful business: septic haulage company Howe is well known in the couple’s local community.
A few of the grandchildren work in the family business, where Barbara was in charge of the company accounts before her diagnosis. A shrewd businesswoman, Barbara wouldn’t stand for any late payers!
Along with her work in the business, Barbara is the matriarch of her family. Her family tells us that when she was able, Barbara was always busy gardening or cooking, and enjoyed keeping fit and going for walks with John.
A helping hand
Over the last couple of years, Barbara has found it more difficult to use the skills that once came so naturally to her. Making herself a cup of tea or a snack have become more complex tasks, requiring help to complete in sequence.
Finding the words to express herself is more challenging now too, but by filling the gaps in Barbara’s sentences, those around her ensure that conversation can still flow so she continues to feel that her contributions are valid.
Despite her Alzheimer’s progressing, Barbara continues to have a sunny outlook and loves nothing more than being socially active and finding the joy in life.
As well as looking after Barbara’s basic needs when we visit, which takes the strain off family for a little while, our ethos is to enrich the lives of our clients with dementia through experiences, fun and laughter – and that’s just what we did for Barbara in the run-up to Christmas.
Barbara’s magic moment
We’d planned to walk around the nature trail at Blaze farm in Wildboarclough with Barbara’s sister Dorothy but when we arrived, the weather took a turn for the worse. Fortunately, the pottery studio on site provided the perfect shelter from the treacherous weather and a great opportunity for Barbara to get crafty instead.
Barbara chose a pot to paint and after sitting down, became completely focused on the task in hand. She looked so relaxed; lost in the moment – which was amazing to see. When she’d finished painting her pot, shaped like a peacock, Barbara added a message to her husband on the bottom – it was lovely to see her so pleased with her achievements.
When she returned home, Barbara excitedly handed the pot to John, whose eyes welled up with tears when he turned it over and read her words: “To my love, John.” The pot is now proudly displayed in the study.
Barbara enjoyed the experience so much that we returned to paint some baubles just before Christmas, together with her sister Dorothy. We laughed so much during the experience and went for a lovely Christmas meal afterwards.
A week later we collected the kilned pieces and the bauble was hung in price of place on the Christmas tree. It will now act of a reminder of the wonderful day we spent painting and laughing, Barbara so full of joy, excitedly sharing with everyone what a good time we’d had.
The words of Mayo Angelou really spring to mind: “People may forget what you said, people may forget what you did – but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
For more information about our dementia care services in Stockport, South Manchester and East Cheshire, get in touch any time by calling us on 0161 537 0983.