Yesterday I was at an event at Bradford Uni . I’d been asked by the lovely Clare Mason if I would talk about my experience of involvement and about my book.
I’ve said before that I call all my involvement, all these events, my Sudoku. It helps to keep my brain exposed to different conversations in different environments. This ‘doing’ I truly believe has stopped me progressing as quickly as I could have. That’s why I get anxious when seeing people sat doing nothing for hours on end and why I believe many people progress quicker than they need when they enter a care home. Obviously some are very good at keeping people active, but many more have yet to learn the value.
I know first hand how wonderful simply sitting with your eyes closed makes you feel, but I also know how dementia slips in through your closed eyes which is why I have to fight the urge to ‘sit’ and keep doing to keep dementia at bay.
Anyway, my ‘doing’ for today started with a lovely taxi ride to the station with one of my regular drivers. He was telling me all about his next project of travelling the canals of the north in a small barge. I told him as I got out to make his dream a reality…….😍
It’s the Easter holidays for schools at the mo so trains are filled with different people. Full of fraught parents entertaining excited children.
There was a misty haze over the Humber as we trundled passed……wishful thinking might call it a ‘heat haze’ but me thinks not…..
I arrived at the Uni to be surprised by the quietness. I’d forgotten it would be Easter Break for most of them. I was relying on asking them to show me the way to the venue! 😳However, I needn’t have worried as I soon spotted Clare’s Forget me Not signs on the lamposts showing us the way. I arrived to find Clare setting up all ready and people drifting in. The tea and cake were all ready
The lovely surprise was seeing my playmate Julie Hayden from West Yorkshire.
Lots of people came up to chat and say hello, so lots of hugs and cuppas. Professors Murna and Jan popped in to say hello. One Occupational Therapist had come just to hear me talk and buy my book 😳☺️ and many of the lovely PhD students were there. One person came to say hello who is apparently giving me a lift to their event in Burley in Wharfdale in May! Should have taken a piccie of her 🙄……..
One woman came up to me and when I asked what her connection was with dementia, she said, no connection, she’d come because she was interested to hear what I had to say.😍
She was due to have her 10th birthday of being cancer free next week, which was certainly something to celebrate and how I look at life helps so many others living with dementia or not……how kind ❤️
Clare said that on every table there were 4 people living with dementia – simply wonderful and a credit to Clare as she is key to people being involved at Bradford.
The lovely Vasileios, with his wonderful smile and cheery Italian face came to say hello. He is a researcher on the Angela Project (their aim is to improve diagnosis and post-diagnostic support for younger people living with dementia and their caregivers) and they will be releasing their findings from this very important study in the late autumn. Really looking forward to hearing what they found. You can read more here:
Once everyone had arrived it was my turn to speak – I didn’t realise that I was the only speaker 😳. I spoke about the importance I place on involvement by saying amongst other things:
“Many people have asked me why I think I havn’t progressed as quickly as some……well, I think there’s a variety of reasons, but the main one is that I’m far busier now than I was when I was working full time but in a different way, but in my way at my speed.”
I finished off by reading a short ‘Billy’ extract from my book to end with laughter……
Everyone was very kind with their comments and questions. One supporter spoke of how involvement made her feel valued. She’d had to give up work but this gave her a sense of value. I always say, the voices of people living with dementia and supporters are equally important. I said how our lives often run in parallel with very different needs but both needs are non the less important.
Many people came up afterwards and asked me questions, which again is always nice as not everyone likes to ask in front of everyone.
They were a wonderful group of people. I always love going to Bradford – they just get it…….😍