It has been well over a month since Dad passed away and I had no idea how I would feel about my dementia advocacy. I have been so busy I have had very little time to grieve but I am pleased to say that I am still as passionate as ever. It is a strange feeling breaking daily routines and not having to care for someone.
I walked back into the nursing home yesterday to see how I felt about everything. I wanted to know if the residents remembered me? Straight away residents came up to me with their quirky ways and interacted. One lady came over and held my hand, others had deteriorated, and some had died.
It was nice to watch several residents’ faces ‘light up’ when they saw me, which tells me that they remember me as someone familiar. I bantered with the residents about their meals and had another “conversation about nothing”…which is what we do with dementia:-)
Dad’s former room is now occupied by another man from my Men’s Group and amazingly the room was setup almost identical to the way we had it for Dad. The man is tall, kind and gentle and has the same vibe as Dad, so I am really happy.
I miss the residents and I miss the staff and watch them rushing around during meal time…..they look stressed. One staff member said to me that many family members talk about coming back to volunteer in the nursing home after their loved one dies, but rarely do and was pleased to see me back.
So what’s next for me in 2017? Not sure….but the radio interview was a big challenge to overcome, and I recently helped with the design of a dementia friendly park in Mt Barker which was interesting, and I am now up for whatever comes next. Maybe our ‘DD’ members could give me some suggestions as to what I can do next to get ‘dementia on the agenda’ and help families and carers?