Last Friday, Damian, our enabler from Minds and Voices, invited me to go to the final session of the Good Life with Dementia Course in Beverley in my own county of East Riding. I was a tutor on the very first course in my own region, but then I left it to others to be the tutors on subsequent courses. This one is the third one and the final session..
This region has got the referral process right, as the memory clinic and nurses have it in their spiel, so they had a full quota and people on the waiting list, which is how it should be. Damian has now applied for funding for even more courses in this area 🙌
So it would be weird being in another group, in a different venue in the heart of my own shopping town. The forcast was for heavy rain from mid morning, so I went for an early morning trundle assuming it might be the only one.
The sky was very dramatic as I entered the cow field. The saying: ‘Red sky in the morning, sailors warning’, matched the forecast.
The sun had just risen, so was blazing through a gap in the angry skies
I walked up through the houses and along the back lane, cut through the gallops where the first hare appeared
Light drops of rain began to fall soon after and I hid my camera inside my coat’ that was until a fluffle of hares appeared in the farm yard
The rain now was steadyily falling, but I continued as planned, my camera now safely tucked away, every now and then I’d shelter under a canopy of trees and snap
I turned around at the sheep field, as the rain wasn’t going to stop 🙄. The sheep taking shelter where they could.
As I headed back into the village, my camera came out one last time….as one of the villagers has scattered wild flowers in his garden, so has his very own meadow
Damian picked me up at home, again, very weird, and drove us into Beverley. They meet in the Minster meeting room and while Damian got the key, I took a photo of the Minster, that was all set up for the weekend flower show
It felt strange being in a different room and setting up. Val from the CCG was waiting outside and we began to set up. I could still be chair monitor, just as at Minds and Voices 😂
Cuppa teas and jelly babies all set on the plate, people soon started to arrive. Of course they all knew one another, it was me who was the stranger in the camp.
I’m actually typing this on Damian’s laptop. I opened my haversack to get my ipad out and, shock horror, an empty space where it should have been 😳🙈couldn’t believe I’d come out without my ipad 🥴
This was a special course with so many generations of Goodlifers! Damian went round the group and introduced everyone. Three generations of Goodlifers were there. One couple from the very first course, another from the second and the rest from the third, and I suppose I made a 4th generation, having done the very first in York 🤔– how wonderful!
So today was a double meeting of East riders (just like Minds and Voices) and the last session, week 7, of the third Good Life course.
Damian welcomed everyone who arrived through the door with such warmth, they couldn’t help but feel welcome.
Damian had done a summary, just like he does for us in York, and naturally enough, the messages were just the same as we at Minds and Voices.
The thoughts people had said throughout the course were the same but in their own style.
‘dementia is a breakdown in the brain’ – said the former engineer on the course
‘it’s not like feeling poorly’
‘it’s about adjusting to the new reality’
‘ a bead counter helps me keep the score on the golf course’
‘I was feeling sorry for myself and the course has shown me there’s a light at the end of the tunnel’
‘living with dementia means putting on a brave face so youre not ridiculed ‘ that came from the first session of the 7.
They spoke of what they don’t want people to say…:
The classic one we all hate hearing….‘I’ve already told you that’…
‘Don’t put me on the spot’ – don’t test me
‘they’re not the person I married – but then who does stay the same?
‘So what if we do get things wrong? No ones perfect….’
‘take us by the hand and take us, don’t signpost us and give us a leaflet’
So finally, Damian then asked what they’d got out of the course
‘it’s nice meeting people, that’s what I like. You could have found it out in a book, but then you wouldn’t have met people’
‘everybody’s so friendly’
‘It’s been a lovely occasion’
‘it’s nice to know there’s other people coping’
‘it’s been enlightening. It’s difficult at first, but meeting people gives you encouragement’
‘a terrific uplift. When I was introduced to other people here, it gave me the confidence to reinstate myself’.
One of the care partners, said ‘the best medication, is to prescribe courses like this’
Jean from course 1 was asked to hand out all the certificates to the latest graduates
Nigel said, who was sat next to me, leant closer and said proudly, ‘How lovely. It’s the first certificate I’ve had since I left school’
So that was their course over and time for a cuppa……..just as with Minds and Voices, there was lots of chatter and laughter as new friends had been made and the ’family’ would hopefully stay together and join the East Riders group. So I decided to leave quietly and allow these new friendships to flourish…..with it only being a walk away, you’d think I’d join this group 🤔..but it just wouldn’t feel right. Minds and Voices is my group, despite the long journey and that’s how it shall stay 😊
Once outside in the fresh air, I noticed there was a Flower Festival just started in the Minster, so having left a tad early, I had time to wonder in and smell the perfumed displays
…..as the thunder rumbled in the distance and the clouds darkened….
”Red sky in the morning, sailors warning” was coming to fruition….just as I was about to head out…maybe one last photo…