The final session of our latest Good Life with Dementia course coincided with our Minds and Voices monthly meeting yesterday , so what better way to celebrate than our newest playmates meeting everyone and deciding if they want to continue by joining our group.
It’s been a lovely group, as always, but it felt more open this time with more contribution being made by our learners and wonderful relationships being created. I can’t remember the last courses, but this one just felt better for some reason🤔
It was forecast to be in the twenties and a nice sunny day, but as I set off in the taxi to Beverley, when the taxi driver said the weather wasn’t playing ball. It was cool and cloudy and I hadn’t dressed for cool and cloudy 🙄……so instead of showing you a grey sky I’ll show you a piccie from yesterday of these latest cuties on the village pond
The bus whizzed to York in no time at all and I ambled my way through town at a leisurely place as we were so early. At last the sun decided to shine and heat my freezing bones up. I popped into the station to pass the time and saw this lovely post box topper – perfect for York
As I sauntered across the road, Damian suddenly drew up in his car with playmate Monica on board! Good timing or what!
I was chair monitor and food getter readier today as our other enabler, Anna, had Covid 🙈
So I busied myself and in no time we were ready and waiting
By the time people started to arrive I’d already eaten most of the plate 🤣….if food is there I’ll eat it, if it isn’t I don’t eat anything🥴
The lovely Eric arrived, our Elaines hubby. So Elaine is always with us through Eric. I showed him a photo of my wing walk along with their photo, which went with me in my pocket and told him that they both had a good time and neither of them were sick on me🤣
So new and old playmates joined together and got to know one another…some just meeting for the first time.
Helen and her hubby arrived and told me their son had seen my wing walk photos courtesy of a dementia specialist in Switzerland who’d posted it on Facebook 😳 how very small our world is ☺️
We made room on one long table to begin with I had to take a photo from the pulpit of our wonderful gathering…
Damian started off by welcoming everyone. All our learners were there finally as one of our big Minds and Voices family.
We had 2 visitors, Vicky, a trainee Clinical Pschologist, who next month hopes for us to take part in her research. Apparently she’s been coming for a while to get to know us 😳…
Jamie was also here – a social perscriber in York just like our Anna, based at a Gp surgery in the town. Each Gp surgery has a social prescriber here in York. She was nothing like our Anna who would have gone round chatting to everyone and helping them where needed with cuppas….and just sat in her place instead….mmmm
We all went round the table and introduced ourselves to each other – not that we’d remember 🤣
The care partners all moved to another table so we could huddle together and hear better…..
But in the end we had to send the care partners out to another room as the acoustics are so bad in their and chatter in the back ground just made it impossible to hear…
We went over the information of the course in the last 5 weeks with Damian reminding people what they said along the way..
“We’re hear to show you there is still a life” I apparently said at the first session as a tutor to the learners, just like playmate Agnes showed me when I was first diagnosed.
When you hear of areas introducing ‘dementia pathways’ – how crazy, as we don’t all follow the same path, no one’s journey is the same, but Audrey added,
“Yes but we’ve all ended up here at Minds and Voices” the only important pathway
We celebrated our differences….but there were lots of ‘me too’ moments along the course.
Our champagne moment of session 3 on relationships and apathy….came from one of our learners…
“Sometime I just can’t be arsed” said Julia🤣
“ Sometimes dementia is really maddening” said Audrey.
“I don’t feel ill, it’s just a part of me” said Alice
“Seek out the happy people”…..said Sue in one session. And that Minds and Voices is a good space to share happy and sad moments.
Damian handed out the IDEAL project Dementia Toolkit….the Ideal Study is the longest and largest study of people with dementia and have produced the Dementia Toolkit – A Guide to Living with dementia..
Damian Addressed just the learners, by saying this was the last session of our course however he would love to know “would you like to carry on meeting at Minds and Voices”
Alice said Yes! We’re all friends now” and the others all said YES! As well….
So the Good life with dementia course creates new friendships that turn into old, new support where the new learners become the next tutors and the old friends – succession planning at its finest…..
Fittingly, the final words came from our new playmates, when Damian asked them what they thought of the course.
“Well we havn’t missed a session – if you don’t come you don’t learn anything – you need to know this stuff”
“It was lovely, happy and jolly but serious”
“Here is a different world of normality”
“I’ve loved meeting everyone. I sat at home wondering where to go, and now I’m here and feel happy”
“I’m so grateful “
“I think you’re doing an excellent job”
So there was only one thing left to do……….as Monica handed out certificates to all our graduating learners
Then, once everyone was back in the same room, one last photo of all of us in front of our wonderful hands banner…
This course was funded by the local commissioning group….so thank you for seeing our strengths …….
P.S – I always see this van parked as I head to the bus stop afterwards……but this time I took a photo as it seemed very apt….there really are hidden stories everywhere…