Category Archives: Peer Support

Minds and Voices talk to Gp’s

It’s not often you get a chance to speak to 200 Gp’s all at once…..but Minds and Voices had a captive audience last week of Gp’s from the Vale of York area. 

Every month they have a training session and last weeks was on Dementia. A lovely person from the Clinical Commisioning Group, whose name has left me, invited Minds and Voices to create a 20 minute video highlighting our experience of Gp’s since we were diagnosed with dementia.  

Nikki Gerard (author and founder of John’s Campaign) would be speaking about the cruel situation in Care Homes during Covid after us.

Me and my playmates all acknowledged the stress and huge workload Gp’s face, but none of us had had a positive experience in the beginning, the very time we need it…

We were told afterwards, how over 200 Gp’s had been spell bound by our video and also quite shocked at the content. Some vowed to make changes at their surgery, others thanked us for our honesty.

My particular Gp practise is outside the Vale of York area, so the woman who’d invited us, promised to send it onto East Riding and Hull CCG’s for them to cascade to their Gp’s, meaning hopefully, my Gp will hear my comments about the current phone only situation…..😍

Anyway, see what you think by watching the video for yourselves…..

A Trundle and a half……Poem

So there’s trundles and there’s trundles

But this weeks broke the mould

Setting off for my 10 mile hike

Some thought I was quite bold

 

But a good cause was pushing me

Forcing my every step

It was of course my playmates

To Minds and Voices , I am in debt

 

My playmates all around the country

All around the world

I owe so much to so many

Because of them my life unfurled….

 

You see, our peers just know

What our lives are really like

It’s so comforting to hear

“Oh I did that!” When dementia strikes

 

So I started off at Appletrees

And headed for the Lake

Past landmarks of sheer beauty

In my paradise of Keswick

To all my playmates who show each other we ‘still can’ – thank you 🙏

You can hear me reading this on Dementia Diaries…..Click on the link below

https://dementiadiaries.org/entry/16079/wendy-reads-a-poem-about-her-enormous-hike-in-support-of-minds-and-voices

 

There could only be one song to go with my walk……

Knit a row purl a row……..Poem

Knit a row purl a row
Clicketty clack…..
Scrawling on my note pad
1,2,3, keeping track…

The squares growing before me
Change of colour needed
In silence I beaver away
So to knit away unheeded

This old hobby relearnt
To challenge my brain
With help from my playmates
From a video to explain

A DEEP Hug blanket
Is our challenge to create
Each square simply showing
My love for my playmates…..


In case you can’t read it it says “Minds and Voices’, the name of my support group in York….

Wonder if you can guess what todays song is……..

The Joys of Monday…….

I always know that Mondays will be filled with laughter, joy and even tears. It’s a zoom day I really look forward to.

In the morning at 10.15, I click the zoom link and am faced with the friendly faces of my playmates from Minds and Voices and our able enablers, Damian and Anna.

The lock down has been quite fortuitous for one person as they actually live a tad too far to have joined our monthly face to face gatherings before all this strange world kicked in. But the virtual world has allowed him to join in the fun and giggles every week. His wife has even said that once this is all over, they’ll actually make the long trip over as he loves being part of the group……so every cloud…..

This week we had my fellow playmate George join us for the hour of fun and laughter…every DEEP group is different and George, from Shropshire saw the Yorkshire humour in full flow..😂

Yes we miss our real hugs and lunch and cuppas together, but this has been good for all of us who have managed to join. Some members can’t as they don’t have access, or can’t fathom the virtual world, so Damian has been visiting them, talking from afar, just to check they’re ok; has sent letters so they’re not left out. So each week he gives an update on how everyone is doing.

On the same day at 5pm, another link clicked, another lot of friendly playmates, this time in the form of the Zoomettes – a women’s only group of people with dementia, with our able enablers Aimee and Anna.

Another vital virtual hug. Being all women, we talk freely about anything and everything. We laugh, we cry we share our emotions openly because we trust each other.

Dreane came on, having had a bad day, and said:

I’ve had a rubbish day, but within 10 minutes of being on here, I’m laughing”

That’s what the Zoomettes means to all of us. Friendship, connection and a safe place to share any news or feelings we have.

As long as I get these 2 zoom connections each week, I feel connected. I can be alone for the rest but I always know I’ve got next week to look forward to….

Breaking News! My Next Adventure…….

What a palaver this has been, trying to set up something as simple as raising money for a group that isn’t a charity!…..🙈…but I’ve got there…I realise that the ‘when’ may change, due to the weather or due to the dreaded C word – mid April is my first chance, probably unlikely now, but it WILL happen sometime, hopefully sooner rather than later…..

When I thought of doing this, some weeks ago, the world was a very different place, so I realise now isn’t a good time to ask you all to part with your money, but just £1 would be more than appreciated as the pounds soon mount up….

The person I’ve been working with has been marvellous …so what am I doing…..? Here’s the blurb from my Fundraising page…….

No one should be alone with dementia and here at my support group, Minds and Voices, we have a safe, non judgemental place, to be happy or sad, to laugh or cry and simply be us.

I have Young Onset Dementia and every year I like a special adventure challenge to raise money for something close to my heart……after all, who knows when it might be my last year of being capable!……

So last year I jumped out of an aeroplane in a tandem skydive which was truly wonderful, but this year I have a very special reason to raise money so wanted a very special adventure…

My support group York Minds and Voices, is running out of funds. As one of my playmates said “It gave her back her life”. So what better group to raise money for this year than the very one that started it all off for me.

So what am I going to do…?…..well my favourite place on earth is Keswick in the Lake District. I call it my Paradise….so this year I’m going to ’FLY OVER PARADISE’ in a TANDEM PARAGLIDE..flying over my paradise of Derwentwater, shown in the photo…..I can’t wait.

I know times are hard but if you can afford anything, even a pound will soon add up. We need funds to pay for taxis to pick up and collect playmates, we need funds simply to exist. We always have a lunch at our monthly meetings and love to get out and about but it all costs money and we’re running out!

So please, if you’re able please support me ….every pound counts…….thank you…….

Clicking on the link will take you to my donation page. Although I know some of you don’t like to click on links, so if you search for the Just Giving web site and then search for Wendy Mitchell, you’ll find me there….

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/wendy-mitchell

 

 

 

My monthly fix of playmate joy…..

I’d listened to the rain falling heavily overnight, the gurgle from the drainpipe indicating the heavy flow……I tapped my watch to see the time…05.40….my alarm would be going off in 5 minutes……

It was definitely a stay snug at home sort of day with heavy rain turning to snow forecasted, but it was my monthly fix of playmates day at Minds and Voices…..couldn’t miss that…

The taxi driver waved at me, a familiar face but not usually at this time in a morning….one of my usual drivers had left suddenly, retired and the state said he couldn’t work a day longer or he wouldn’t get his tax credit…..how sad. He’d not wanted to leave but once more, this crazy system we have makes it more beneficial to be on benefit than working in a job he loved……

Anyway, my driver, who normally starts at 7 had taken the job because she knows me and started early to cover my pick up……

The rain was lashing down and threatening to turn to snow…..but as the driver said..”it’s too cold for snow, wait ‘til it gets to 4 degrees and then we’ll get it’….

She dropped me off in the market place, the only lights alive being that of the paper shop sorting the morning papers and I trundled, head down through the downpour to the bus station, stopping every now, taking a detour to take a piccie at this lonely time of day..

As the bus trundled it’s way to York though flooded roads sending torrents of wheel splash onto the already awash road sides, we started to climb the Wolds, and sure enough, the rain turned to heavy snow. Brakes lights in the distance moving slower than normal, everyone taking it steady. We were sudddenly dropped into a white world with thick snow flakes landing silently on the windscreen…..

As we left the Wolds and went down into the vale, the heavy snow continued but falling now as wet snow on already heavily flooded land….the bus silent, the normally singing bus driver silent in concentration with the occasional nervous humming as the odd car started to pass by with rooftops laden with snow …..a sign of where we were heading….? 😳😳

As we got to York the rain was still falling but at least it was rain now…..it had taken us nearly 2 hours to get there due to the weather and Monday morning traffic. I got off in town as I knew the bus would have trouble getting to the station in time for Damian to meet me. Snapping away at the flooded river as I did……

Even the daffodils in the Museum Gardens had their heads down sheltering from the weather………

I was late but Damian was also caught up in heavy traffic so we arrived almost at the same time and trundled to Lidgett Grove…..where I as chair monitor, went to work…….and Damian got me a cuppa……..

As the minutes passed, the room started to fill up with more people than ever!…..so much chatter and catch up…..another new person coming to ‘try us out’…..old faces revisiting….wonderful…..❤️

We had a chocca agenda and sociology students, Chrissy and Sarah, from York were our visitors today. Their project is looking at the role gardening plays in our lives.

Alan, an artist from York, who’d worked with us before and held an exhibition in the library, had just come to say hello again as he’d love to do something else with us…

Because there were so many of us we all went round just saying who we were……much laughter again, especially when Paul said his usual one liner of:

I’ve been happily married for 10 years, not bad out of 40 years of marriage….” 🙄😂

So Chrissy and Sarah began……it’s a pilot atudy to try and understand peoples everyday experiences and how people make gardens fit in with dementia. It doesn’t mean ‘doing ‘ gardening necessarily as some might just watch the birds, have a window box etc. They’ve  a sketch artist working with them, and can supply iPads, camera etc if we want to do a pictorial dairy, a written diary, or dictaphones for a recording diary……..

Monica said of gardening:

It Gives you Choices” it doesn’t matter if things don’t work, it’s not important…..”It gives you so much pleasure, you can be stuck in the house but you see the snowdrops out in the garden, out in all weathers and it gives you pleasure”

 There was lots of enthusiasm and the girls got lots of volunteers………they’d also done a great information sheet – very clear, very straight forward….

Damian told us how a couple of weeks ago…..he went to an Alzheimers Society Research Summit conference…..but no people with dementia were invited…😔…..he told them about the Dementia Enquirers project we’re doing. The Professors were told to make research accessible. He put Brians quote up on screen saying how their work wasn’t accessible because of the language they used….

Anna then spoke of the Dementia Action Alliance Steering Group, attended by Commisioners, professionals, and, up until now, no people with dementia, but Anna put that right by inviting me, Eddy, Elaine…..The powers that be in October are organising a GP gathering and they want people with dementia to be involved…..we all can’t wait……

 Damian gave us feedback from Joseph Rowntree on our course as they were our funders.They said:

The work was clearly person centred…..it was innovative ….it offered participants a voice”

Before lunch we talked about our Dementia Enquires project – “The pros and Cons of living alone or Iiving with a care partner”

As Brian said….”It’s a luxury to live alone”…..😂🤣

Damian spoke of our plan, how we agreed we’d interview 10-15 individuals and carry out a focus group at the end of March….. when a few groups we’ve asked will bring people to be part of our research…..we could do some interviews via Zoom…..and actually we realised we wouldn’t be short of interviewees…….

He finished off by talking about the gathering in May…an overnight stay in London for the gathering of all the projects of Dementia Enquirers……he asked for volunteers as we could only take 2 people plus Damian….. so names might have to go in a hat. Luckily I’ll already be there as a pioneer so no need to count me in our numbers…..

In looking for volunteers we agreed we’d have to look for people who were willing to travel without their care partners, and travelling to London on their own with Damian……however, he said it all wrong…..”

Monica, would you be willing to travel with me overnight to London”

Monica pumped the air and Damian turned a shade of scarlet …….

It was soooooo funny…….it was one of those moments that is only funny at the time but it had everyone chuckling….

Lunch time, but before I left…there was one last thing, as it was Brians birthday…..and Brian is partial to a pork pie…….so Damian had brought a candle to put in his pork pie instead of a cake…..😂🤣😂….except……Damian had left the candle somewhere……🙈 we did think of getting the one from the altar but decided against it……😂🤣

But here’s one of birthday boy Brian with his pork pie anyway….sadly I missed his smile by a nano second 🙄

A nice happy note for me to leave everyone on, having their lunch and recharging ready for the afternoon session….……

 

 

Time with my Playmates……

Apologies in advance for the long blog, but we had an action packed day!!

Yesterday was the first time I’d had to get up at silly o’clock for ages. There’s a difference between lying there relaxing with your eyes closed in the dark, wide awake and having to actually get up before the heating has woken up……but my reward would be seeing my playmates at Minds and Voices – the first time for a couple of months..(I think!)

Darkness and silence filled the room. I opened my phone to see it was 05.44, 1 minute before my alarm. So I switched it off, not wanting the silence to break.

There was a chill in the air as the radiators had yet still to wake and I went through my usual routine. Just one cuppa instead of filling my flask today and I remembered! Often I fill the flask automatically, but maybe that signalled it was going to be a good day.

As BBC Breakfast kept me company, as usual, I drank my hot cuppa tea, fully coated, hood up in the cold room, before long spying the slow headlights moving outside heralding the arrival of the taxi. Never anywhere for him to park this time in a morning, as neighbours cars lay idle and frosted before their morning commute.

I waved, signalling I’d seen him,  and once seated and strapped in,  we drove through the quiet dark streets to the Saturday bandstand, my destination to cut through to the bus station. The only light shining was the newsagents, sorting his morning papers as I ambled the short distance. But suddenly a beautiful scene caught my eye and looking left could see St Marys shining at the end of the street

The bus arrived within minutes and I climbed aboard with the handful of weary morning travellers. Once we left the yet to wake town, we joined the main rush hour traffic to York, with headlights streaming towards us and brake lights leading our way and I snuggled down waiting for daylight to appear…….

As we reached York, daylight had made an appearance…..and I trundled to the station taking a detour into the Museum gardens to take a piccie of the lovely morning sunshine and my shadow…..

Damian had txt me the night before to ask if he could pick me up early at 09.05 as we had a new playmate to pick up, Mary!

Once arrived me, as chair monitor, sorted out the layout. Alison arrived with Anna, so we sat and chatted, having a cuppa and a catch up. Alison sometimes has trouble with speaking  so I lent her my iPad to see if it helped. She said that with those around her at home she has no trouble speaking…it’s just in situations like this…….stupid dementia…..but she tried and maybe will have sown a seed…..

Soon everyone started to arrive and there was much banter, much laughter, many hugs shared.

Kate Veysey arrived, our first victim  visitor to witness our jargon jar …….Kate is from York Theatre Youth Project. She visited me at the village café before Christmas to see what I thought of her idea and was now here today looking for volunteers……..It wasn’t practical for me to volunteer but I said I would do a talk to her staff as starters.

Damian started off by working his way through a very packed agenda…

He gave everyone the latest Deep Newsletter and told us about the big news from Innovations in Dementia about their new funding from the Lottery for the next 4 years to make sure more voices are heard.

We next said hello to Kate, from York Theatre Royal…..who now felt very under pressure with the Jargone Jar sat in front of her.

They have 14 different youth groups who meet at various times during the months. She’s looking for volunteers to work with 6 of those groups every week (age 5-7 & 8-10)  to work with the young people, helping with the drama session. Each volunteer would have a buddy with them to support them. Initially it will for for 10 weeks, after which they would see how it went. It might be a case of helping children practice their lines, watching the run through and offering advice, or simply encouraging.

Apparently I’d advised her to bring an information sheet with pictures for people to look at 🙄 (needless to say I didn’t remember that!) which was perfect.

I said how children are like a sponge and have no preconceptions, so exposing them to dementia will give them a whole new experience…….some seemed willing to give it a go…inter generational mix of youngsters and people with dementia is a win win for both parties…

We then agreed a speaker for next month – a researcher looking into how we use our garden….

Paul piped up…….

How much garden should a man have…..as much as his wife can dig….”🙈😂😂🤣😂🤣

Anna then told us about the market stall we have with Healthwatch on the first Tuesday of the month….looking for volunteers to help her.

Also the Dementia Action Alliance in York Are in a ‘transitional period’ …… they have a steering group with loads of professionals but no one with dementia…….soooooo Anna is looking for volunteers to accompany her……

 We then moved onto our Dementia Enquirers Project…….our question we’re researching is ‘The Pros and cons of living with dementia alone or with a care partner’……we want to find out about the benefits, challenges and needs of both groups.

The first thing we did was around whether we should go to ethics or not……Chris Clarke, our academic expert we invited to help us has advised us to go for it………we decided we will we go for ethics but we need them to be flexible and understand our needs…….

We looked at the Information sheets &  consent forms. Damian and Brian looked at a literature review on the internet and as Brian said, “It was double dutch’ and our Jargon Jar would have been full……

Brian said, “we’ll end up being the best bloomin network in the end” …..how we need to make things clear and in plain English.”These names they’ve come up with are a load of crap” 😂🤣😂🤣

Damian went though the published research they‘d found…mainly about living in couples….

Most of the easearch was on how it affects care partners….and Brian asked “what’s with this one way traffic?”…….😂🤣 Brians one liners are priceless…..

Everyone was ready for lunch after such a busy morning, but sadly, due to buses, it also meant I have to leave and miss out on the rest of the day….. the questions we would ask would be discussed after lunch and I suddenly thought of the possible difference in hospital experience …..I refuse to go into hospital, because living alone, I know how difficult it would be to get discharged, whereas maybe for those with partners,it would be easier. Anyway I left with that seed sown…

…..so after goodbyes and more hugs, I trundled back to the bus stop to take me into York…….ambled over the river, snapping a piccie as I went by…

As I was walking through a shop, a woman stopped me, dropping the lemons she was holding in the process of attracting my attention..after we’d chased after and rescued them, she simply thanked me for writing my book…..❤️

A lovely way to end my trundle to York……..I was exhausted and very cold when I finally  got home, but feeling very content with my day….

 

 

 

ZOOM technology brings playmates together……..

I’ve spoken many times about how technology enables me to remain independent, well Zoom enables me to ‘meet up’ with playmates. This week on 2 such occasions …

Every Monday at 5pm, the Zommettes meet on line to put the world to rights, provide ears to listen and share laughter and sadness. There’s 10 of us, I think, including our ‘able enablers, Anna Harrison and Aimee Day. The wonder of zoom, is we don’t have to live near one another. It connects those in remote places with those in cities and towns.

We talk about absolutely everything, knowing we can trust those on the call and also, realising that within minutes of hanging up, most of us will have forgotten anyway…🙄😂🤣


My lovely Zoomettes….🥰

Aimee and Anna, our ‘able enablers’ keep us in order. Me and Agnes are usually snug in our beds, afterall, it doesn’t matter where we are or what we wear.

I could only stay 10 minutes this week as Stuart was picking me up early for my tea….but I couldn’t miss clicking the link just to say hello to those who had made it…and it’s always comforting to see playmates on screen…..

Yesterday was the second zoom of the week  for Dementia Enquirers Pioneers. This is the project where people with dementia are leading from the front on research and inviting academics through our door when we need their help. You can read more about our wonderful project here..

https://www.dementiavoices.org.uk/dementia-enquirers/

It was hosted by the Thred group from Liverpool (Transport, Health, Research, Economy with Dementia)  with the lovely Liverpudlian  Paul Hitchmough chairing and supported by his ‘able enabler, Louise Langham.

On the call were me, Philly, Louise, Paul, Mhari and Ron.

Paul, me, Mhari and Ron, all have dementia and Paul kept us all in order …..no mean feat, which he did brilliantly!

Paul and Louise filled us in on their project on Transport, how it impacts on our life with dementia. They’re well ahead of me and my playmates at Minds and Voices as they’ve organised an online questionnaire, which I’ll share when available and they’ve booked themselves trip through the 4 nations to hear from as many people with dementia as possible.

Minds and Voices havnt met for a couple of months but our project is all about Liviing alone versus living as a couple. We have decided on the questions (I think!) and plan to interview other groups.

I spoke of the difficulty in keeping up momentum when we simply forget it exists; when one meeting merges into another and we forget the smallest details and almost have to start all over again. We came up with ideas to help remedy this.

I wasn’t typing as we were on ZOOM, so any more detail has already left me, but I know we left feeling inspired, feeling we wanted to crack on and ‘do’. There’s nothing more wonderful than meeting up in person but it’s so costly so this is an alternative and allowed people to join from the Western Isles, across to the West and East and from the centre of the country……..and a virtual hug is also comforting…..

I work out ZOOM in the past, but I think it was Philly who talked me through it and gave me a practice run and now sends out a simple link for me to click on which immediately takes me to the meeting, making it straight forward.

There are 12 projects happening around the country, all led by people with dementia, all the research topics chosen by people with dementia. We have until May to complete and then hope to write our own publications and get the media involved as this really is a landmark project showing what people with dementia CAN do with the right support and encouragement……..

Hot off the Press……..!!

Today sees a major announcement by my favourite people…….

“Innovations in Dementia celebrates £700k National Lottery grant to help people with dementia have a say” 👏👏🙌🙌

It’s the launch of their Dementia Voices Programme and will include a continuation of funding for DEEP and Dementia Diaries…..both of which play an enormous part in my life…..

It was in the early days of my diagnosis that I came across Innovations. It was founded by Rachael Litherland and Nada Savitch who wanted ‘to inspire people to think differently about dementia.’ I first met Nada at the York Women’s Conference that appears in my book and that conference changed my thinking and took me into a whole new wonderful world.

Since that day, that day when I was inspired to think differently about dementia, they have enabled me and many others to take part in all kinds of events and campaigns. More importantly they have allowed people with dementia to meet each other and become part of the wonderful family that is the DEEP Network. Pre dementia, I was never one for joining groups, but when I was diagnosed I had this urge to meet others going through what I was going through. The moment I stepped through that door and saw ordinary people, just like me, was a life changing moment. That’s why Minds and Voices is so important to me. We’re just there for one another, to share ideas, to support one another through good and bad.  We can walk in feeling down and leave with a smile on our faces.

We’re part of the DEEP Network, as are over hundred groups now up and down the country. It makes you feel like part of a family, a different family, a special family. You can see if there’s a group near you, or just find out more, on their web site and if run or belong to a peer support group, please think of joining us….

https://www.dementiavoices.org.uk/

And through Dementia Diaries they have given me and my playmates a way to communicate with the wider world…..

You can listen to me reading this blog on Dementia Diaries …

https://dementiadiaries.org/entry/13556/wendy-celebrates-the-launch-of-the-dementia-voices-initiative

Amazingly there are only 6 people in this not-for-profit organisation, Rachael, Steve, Philly, Damian, Rachel and Kate. You would think there’s a whole army with the amount of stuff they do!…but those 6 people work tirelessly enabling me and all my playmates and together we make up this giant army doing our very best to bring about change and continue to inspire others entering this alien world to do the same….

Funding is always an issue for many organisations so I’m so thrilled the National Lottery has seen fit to back this project with the £700,000 grant. Yes they are a small organisation, but have an understanding of our needs far bigger than their size. They are the only people I trust to support me because I know they ‘get it’. They are willing to listen and learn continually. They never forget why they do what they do.

Me and my playmates would be lost without the work of Innovations. This money will enable them to continue, in their ever innovative way, to help people with dementia inspire each other and inspire others to think about dementia differently…..

This news has made made my day……..and this lovely piccie of the 6 mashed together by Rachael shows what a smiley lot they are – our ‘able enablers’ for all to see……from left to right, Rachel, Damian, Philly, Kate, Steve and Rachael…..although we must get a new piccie of Steve so he looks less scary and less like a convict!!

 

My Monthly Trundle to be with my Playmates…….

I really needed a day at home yesterday after a weekend away ….but it was our monthly get together of Minds and Voices, so I found myself crawling out of bed at silly o’clock as my calendar had told me I couldn’t make our Christmas meeting……so how could I miss this one……

It was the usual dark silly o’clock start but the weatherman, the night before, had said it was going to be a sunny day…….mmmmm, me thinks he forgot to tell the early morning rain clouds as it was damp and soggy as I trundled in the taxi to the bus station……

However, the early morning sky did seem to be promising that it was saying goodbye to the night rain clouds, and making way for something better

The bus is always silent at that time in a morning. Fellow passengers having forty winks or simply away in their own thoughts, maybe of a weekend of fun and laughter and were now coping with Monday morning blues, heading for work once more……even when school children joined us they were subdued and hadn’t woken enough for their usual sqeals of laughter and jokiness….

It was so cold on the bus that my feet were like blocks of ice and I sat hunched up with my hood up…..I got off in York town to trundle my way to the pick up point of the station in the hope that the exercise  would wake up my frozen limbs….and it meant I could take another piccie…..this time in daylight with the sun shining….I was trundling past the Museum Gardens when I spied the sun glistening through and couldn’t resist a detour…..

Damian txt me to say he was a bit late so I stood frozen to the spot until he arrived….😂……once we got to Lidgett Grove, Anna had my cuppa tea ready to warm my hands………

Playmates began to arrive, Bob and Sue being first, so lovely to get in my first hug and catch up…..Anna went to pick up Rita from the Care Home…..first time with us since she’d moved. It was a wrench for her to give up her lifetime home but as she sat down next to me, her face lit up and she said she loved the home…so all was right in the Rita’s world……..

Fleetways Taxis had forgotten 7 people so playmates were still on their way………

3 new people came in which was lovely……..and me and Eddy sang, ‘Come and join us…” 😂 which may or may not have settled their nerves………and then 2 more newbies arrived and we sang again automatically…🙈

We went round the ever expanding table, saying who we were…..

2 newbies joined through wanting to join the choir, but it wasn’t there anymore and instead they found out about Minds and Voices and thought they would give it a go. Eddy was able to tell them where they could go to join the choir as it had moved venue. The other 3 joined through finding us on line. Bob has dementia and Mikey, said on Bobs behalf, that he couldn’t hold a conversation……..Bob piped up…

I can hold a conversation when I want to….” 😂 perfect…..perfect….perfect…….⭐️⭐️

A couple, Newbies from a previous week said of Minds and Voices, “we’ve found it inspriring…..”

Eddy filled everyone on his Blue Badge debacle…..he’s been refused even though that very morning he’d nearly got run over cos he wasn’t aware of his surroundings……..Anna has arranged a meeting with the Blue Badge people at the council so Eddy is going with her……👍

By this time everyone had arrived…….bigger table now as we’re growing so fast!

I spoke about a possible collaboration and project with York Theatre Royal……I had the Youth theatre person Kate Veysey, visit me at my village. I said I’d feed back the idea to Minds and Voices, and then if there was any enthusiasm, I’d put her in touch with Damian to book a spot to visit the group……..and well…….there were so many yellow cards go up that I can safely say there was enthusiasm……..

One newbie, who had come as a supporter, said I didn’t look like I had dementia, as I could speak all about Kate visiting me 😳🤐………sooooo…there then followed a conversation about what we should look like….all gentle and informative………but hopefully making a point without putting them off…..

We then went onto the main agenda for the day……our research project……..but first we topped up on tea and coffee……only to realise a major catastrophe………

WE WERE ABOUT TO RUN OUT OF TEA BAGS!!!!!!!!……Damian’s brownie points for remembering the liquorice all sorts was whipped away when he neglected to notice the tea bag situation…….😱🙈……😂🤣😂🤣………

The flip chart paper was stuck on the wall and work began setting out our aims and timelines……..we have until June 2020……..when we would give a presentation to the 10 other DEEP groups who also have been given funding…..so one big party to celebrate…

But now we need to come up with the questions and contact the groups we want to help us by interviewing them……

So we’re going to have 3 focus groups, and 15 individual interviews…….

Damian said how the gold standard is to get ethics approval…..Monica said, ‘Who decides what’s ethical….?”👍

It might be that seeking ethics approval slows things down….but I said how we could put that to the ethics committee, how they need to speed up their process as we’re people living with dementia and 6 months is a long time in dementia world……..

The timescale was the most important as we only had 6 months.

Brian was ‘chief Literature reviewer’………and Brain said, ‘Why not, it’ll give me something to do over Christmas….” 😂🤣

We finished off before lunch talking about the questions…..the pros and cons of living alone versus being in a couple……..

Brian described living alone as “a luxury” 😂…….Eddy says he feels sorry for people who live alone……Monica, who lives alone says ‘if I make a mistake there’s no one around to criticise”

Damian asked Monica, “what would you feel like if you did have someone living with you” and Monica said….” Well they would say “ I shall go get a bottle of milk and I would sit there doing nothing and vegetate…”❤️

So much interesting conversation came out of this…..I had to sadly rush off for my bus, but not before adding my suggestions for questions…..

“what are the advantages of living alone?”

What are the disadvantages if any?”

What are the advantages of living as a couple?”

What are the disadvantages ?”

And to ask both parties each set of questions……

Shame I couldn’t stop but my village buses are few and far between now which means I have to leave York at lunchtime 🙈……

But a last piccie from this morning where I  caught the reflection of autumn in the river as I trundled across ….just beautiful light and colours this morning and an added bonus was seeing my playmates….🥰