The Dementia Diaries pt 2

The Dementia Diaries pt 2 – by Eve Grace

Dementia care calls for a unique set of skills along with a good sense of humour. Our Dementia Diaries series by local author Eve Grace captures those lighthearted moments that can be experienced on an almost daily basis along the dementia journey.

Missed part 1? You can read it here.

It was a Wednesday afternoon when I next paid a visit to Mason House, where my grandmother was staying after being discharged from hospital. The specialist dementia care home seemed to house dozens of residents across a couple of buildings, over two floors.

Regular visitors became accustomed to the familiar faces, one of whose on my grandma’s floor belonged to a gentleman called Andy.

It was during this visit that, while sitting together in the lounge, my grandmother and I were approached by a slow-moving but determined Andy. What he lacked in speed he made up for in conversation, I’d previously discovered. I readied myself.

“Have you got my keys?” he asked, wide-eyed.

“I’m afraid not,” I said.

“Your teeth?!” my hard-of-hearing grandmother asked, incredulously. “Terrible to lose your teeth.”

Andy looked at her, blankly. She looked back at him with concern. I stifled a chuckle behind my face mask.

After a moment deep in thought he turned to me again.

“My car keys.”

“No, I haven’t got them.”

“Well, your keys then.”

Quick, think, Eve! I told myself, flustered. There was no member of staff around to ask for help. And unlike many of the other residents, Andy was relatively able-bodied and could probably have wrestled my car key from my bag should he have chosen to.

I paused briefly and was struck with a golden response. “Oh, but I walked here,” I fibbed. “I don’t have any keys with me.”


There was a long pause.

“Well, I’m pregnant.” Andy announced, matter-of-factly. He put his hands on his hips as if to make a point.

This, my grandmother heard correctly, and roared with laughter.

“Oh isn’t he funny?!” she chortled. “But of course, it’s not him, it’s the writers – they’re working to a script you see. That’s the only way to explain what goes on in here. They do a good job!”

In the background, by the balcony, meanwhile, it was all kicking off.

“Why have you taken my seat cushion?” an angry Myrtle snapped at Elizabeth. The calm and placid Elizabeth, looking surprised, said she certainly hadn’t taken anyone’s seat cushion. Myrtle had just risen from her chair after all, seat cushion still present. But Myrtle was, in fact, pointing at another seat, which had an extra seat cushion on it.

Myrtle eyed Elizabeth suspiciously. Ann tottered over with her frame and sat next to Elizabeth for moral support.

Deciding to step in, I went over to see if I could help. “Let me move this cushion, Myrtle, then you can sit down if you like.”

“Why are you taking that?!” she asked me, crossly.

“Because it’s from another chair – it doesn’t belong here.”

I went and sat back down with my grandmother but within seconds Myrtle’s grumpy tones disturbed the peace once more.

“You’ve taken my frame,” she accused the poor Elizabeth, a wicked glint in her eyes.

“I haven’t, this is my frame! Yours is over there!” Elizabeth replied, exasperated.

The member of staff appeared (finally) from a bedroom but Myrtle would not be convinced.

“Fine!” said the care assistant, after five minutes of trying. “You want this frame, you have it.” She lifted Elizabeth’s walking frame out from among the chairs and handed it to Myrtle. “Now, no more of this causing trouble, Myrtle!”

Silence resumed, thankfully, and all was peaceful again in the dementia unit. Everyone seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.

Of course, it couldn’t last longer than a moment. A voice sounded to my right…

“Have you got my keys?”

To be continued…