On Friday I ended, what had been a rubbish week, locally at Hessle Community Centre running one of our Recovery College Sessions with the lovley Cathryn Hart.
We’ve run these session in various locations locally, can’t remember how may now, but I remember the first having 4 or 5 people and it gradually grew in numbers. This one sold out. We never have a massively large group as we have to get the venue free. The Recovery College simply charges £1 for admin to make them as accessible for as many people as possible.
Dementia has brought me into contact with many truly wonderful people who I would never have met in previous circumstances.. Cathryn is the Assistant Director Research & Development at Humber NHS Trust. But more importantly, she’s now a good friend and we make a very good double act 😂
Anyway, it was another hot muggy day that dawned but the sun the absent, so goodness knows how hot it would be if it had been out. I still felt groggy but knew that a room full of people would help. Cathryn arrived on time and we trundled to Hessle Community Centre…….
We arrived to find a lovely community area attached where anyone can sit
The caretaker soon came and opened up the building and I was surprised to find the lovely administrator extraordinaire arrive – Alison – and Emma, owner of amazing dog, Lola. They’d come to help set up. Acho also arrived from the Recovery college who always come to complete all the paperwork.
Our 2 hour workshop is called: Living with dementia and things you can do to help……
Me and Cathryn ‘wing it’ as it really depends on the audience, so we have a basic frame of ideas and Cathryn feeds me lines which starts me off………
We had 2 early arrivals, who’d come all the way from Hornsea so had swapped the seaside for inland………people began to arrive and one lady had come to meet me who has been following my blog for months ….awwww……and then my playmate Bob and his wife Sue also came…Such lovely people…….
We were expecting about 20- 25 but imagine the heat might have put some people off so it might be small and perfectly formed……….
In the end it was about 20 people of such a mixed group. Many people with dementia and their partners but also professionals.
I shared my story and shared some tips. We also then asked the audience if they’d found anything that worked or whether there were problems that needed solving. One guy spoke of the glasses he’s bought for his father which were suppose to be for people who were colour blind but had actually had an amazing effect on his vision as he was seeing colours he’d never seen before. Others spoke of similar problems with doors, that they now understand, as I spoke about my issues with doors.
Many Issues were spoken of, situations relayed for others to hear. Such a good 2 way conversation of sharing and learning from one another. A younger woman had arrived with her son, and she spoke of the issues she’s facing going through the menopause and having dementia, so I spoke of the recent women’s group meeting in London where where menopause was also on the agenda. She’s only 52 and was a nurse in the NHS for 34 years so it was lovely chatting to her. Another spoke of her mum being blind and having dementia so a double whammy…….
We thought we’d stop for a comfort break as it was sooooo hot that I’d decided to sit down before I passed out as I started to feel sick……….but Alison kept supplying me with ice cold squash …
The last minutes were spent talking about research along with any questions people had. One lady, who’d come with her daughter said how she found it frustrating she had so much trouble cooking so that led me onto to us talking about food and how I never dwell on what I can’t do. With regards to food I let Stuart cook for me and I make myself simple things……sometimes ‘finding a way’ involves allowing others to share the problem and accept help…..(very funny coming from me as I’m not good at that bit 😂_)
So many conversations, so many people left with a smiley face and chatter but not before them agreeing to a piccie for my blog…..we could have gone on for hours bit at least they left with hope…..
Still so much to do but we’ll keep chipping away……
Catherine dropped me off in Beverley as I had to pick up my prescription. I was walking through town, minding my own business when a young woman with a child stopped me in my tracks and asked if I was Wendy…😳…..I said yes, and she simply thanked me for my book. She’d recognised me from the piccie inside…….☺️….
The kindness of strangers has seen me through such a bad few days ……thank you all…….🙏