So moving away from the politics this week has dragged up I thought I’d get back to chatting about nan. The Britain’s Got Talent advert has inspired today’s post mostly because it has triggered something in nan’s memory.
The first few times we saw I could see nan searching her head for the right words, and then the other day “would you believe I used to do that”. “what nan?” “acrobatics”. Wow. I was shocked, nan has often mentioned to me her love of dancing but I had never heard this story. I am aware that sometimes people with dementia often believe things that have seen have happened to them, so I took the new story with a pinch of salt. But it was fascinating to see nan chatting with enthusiasm about this old hobby.
This conversation lead us on to the dancing she used to do, at the London Palladium would you believe! But due to the War starting she had to stop as she was evacuated. And then I heard all about her two failed evacuations and the return to her mum in the city. Nan spent most of the evening chatting to me about her past, with me listening, which was nice as I often feel I do most of the talking.
The following day I thought it would be nice for nan to see some of her old things, jewellery and postcards etc. Unfortunately nan’s memory was not on top form so the stories I had been hoping for did not come, but she smiled fondly at old relics of her past, and gave me a few hints of a time gone by.
Which brings me to the point of today’s post. One of the lessons from the Admiral Nurse was not to force a person with dementia to live in your present. Allow them to live and believe in the things they believe are real, as long as they are not a risk to themselves or others. You may learn a lot. A bit like working with children (which I will cover in another post), you wouldn’t tell a child that their imaginary friend isn’t real, so why do the same to someone with dementia? Not that my nan has developed that far into her dementia, she is still aware of the present day but I know that at some point she will regress. And I think I’m prepared for that, to allow her to live in the past may teach me things I was never aware of. I think we all need to be aware of how much we can truly learn from our elders, as often they are ignored or listened to but not truly heard. I never knew my nan did acrobatics, or that my grandma lived on a farm in Folkestone (pretty much the frontline of raids) during the war, so had supplies of milk etc when a family friend struggled through the rationing up in Yorkshire (far from the raids).
So homework for my readers, listen to an elderly person’s story and see what new and interesting things you can learn.Thank you once again for all your support.