When I visit Mum, I try to greet as many other residents by name as I can. There’s a certain irony in the fact that I can’t remember too many of their names but we’ll gloss over that.
The smile, sometimes beaming but always warm, which follows is something to behold. It’s a simple act, not original, but it’s worth it. Last time I was there, I received similar replies from two ladies:
“Oh hello, I haven’t seen you for ages….”
“Oh, I haven’t seen you for years and years.”
It was only a few days since I’d last seen and spoken to them and it reminded me again, that for so many people living with dementia, today is not only a new day, it’s sometimes the only day.
Tomorrow, Sunday 18th May, is the start of Dementia Awareness Week. The following day I’ll be leading a Dementia Friends Awareness session in Coventry, as we try to create one million Dementia Friends by 2015. As I write this, there are currently 137,063 so we’ve a way to go. If you want to know more, go to http://www.dementiafriends.org.uk. For those who want to become Friends on Monday, I’ll be asking for one action – however small – to help us build a Dementia Friendly Society.
Showing patience in the supermarket queue, greeting someone living with dementia by name, there are countless acts which will help. With the prospect of one in three people over the age of 65 living with dementia, we’re all likely to be touched by it in some way. Together, we can make a difference.