Graduation day for our new playmates……..

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.

Enlightening

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…

About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

9 thoughts on “Graduation day for our new playmates……..

  1. Wendy how often do I have to say…I think you are an amazing woman and a wonderful advertisement for living well with Dementia. I wish there was a similar group down here in North Wiltshire that I could perhaps help with in some way. I’m on holiday at the moment a little nearer you ( near a Edinburgh ). So I should go my friend has dinner ready..God Bless

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Wendy – I’m really commenting on the response left by Sybil …. I work (in fact am the volunteer manager) for the local dementia charity in Wiltshire – Alzheimer’s Support – we are not a advocacy group like yours Wendy, but we do offer a whole range of support services for people living with dementia and their families – including social activities such as music, art, memory cafe, gentle movement, outdoor/wildlife, discussion groups etc and we are always keen to have help from members of the community here. If Sybil would like to contact me – email : anniec@alzheimerswiltshire.org.uk or phone me 01985 624 005 – we could have a talk about how she could get involved. (Sorry I don’t know how to reply directly to commentators on here) Many thanks, Annie

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The course is really a great idea, and from the comments of the participants it has achieved its goal. So, good for you! And so wonderful they all wanted to continue with Minds and Vouces! I wish this could all be exported over here to the US. Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Wendy
    My name is Patricia Chalmers. I live in Auckland,, New Zealand. My memory has been deteriorating significantly for over 6 years. I am reluctant to get diagnosed but I would love to buy a copy of the IDEAL project Dementia Tool Kit. I’m carefully organising my life by writing everything down and have really valued your blog and your first book and look forward to getting your second book soon. I feel I need to gather resources to help myself now as I want to prepare all the advantages I can that will help me. You do an amazing job and have been like a lady with a torch in a dark place.

    Liked by 1 person

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