Hannah Davies column: Don't let them feel out of touch
I WAS really saddened last week to read the Alzheimer's Society report about people with dementia feeling like prisoners in their own homes, with some people only leaving the house once a week.
Somehow it feels like we are failing these people who are our friends, neighbours, former work colleagues. Thankfully Mum didn't ever feel imprisoned, but I know she felt out of touch with her friends and socially cut-off before she moved into the care home.
In the early stages of dementia Mum lost confidence and withdrew from her usual activities as she was often embarrassed and frustrated at getting things wrong. I wish I had gone to the yoga classes with her or found someone who could pick her up and drop her home — allowing time for Mum to get ready as she would have forgotten the class was on that day. I also think back to her church cleaning rota and wonder if I, or one of the other cleaners, had called her at the right time on the appropriate day each month would Mum have been able to enjoy the sense of feeling useful more often? I just didn't think of these small actions that could have helped her carry on living her life filled with enjoyable activities.
Life is busy, filled with obligations and work, and so we often seem to miss the point that we can enjoy all that we do and also help others. Is it a duty to make a point of chatting to your next door neighbour each week, finding half an hour for a cuppa and hearing their life story? If every neighbour did that then we would have far less isolation, and everyone would have at least two conversations each week, and that's two more than some people are currently having.
To contact Hannah, either call 07599 909438 or write-to-hannah@ hotmail.co.uk
For further information about the services and support available from the Alzheimer's Society visit www.alzheimers.org.uk or call 0300 2221122