We hear from our CAREGiver Wendy from the Epsom office who looks after 87-year-old David who has vascular dementia. Here, Wendy talks about caring for David and taking a trip down memory lane to visit an old family home.
“David is a real gentleman, a very proud man with a great sense of humour. He has vascular dementia so his short-term memory is rather poor but his long-term memory and recollection of the past can be amazing.
I love listening to David's stories - the two years he spent in National Service in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm when he was 18 years old, his courtship with his wife, Pam, who was "a very good wife" (but not quite as good a cook as his mother who baked amazing cakes!), and the good times he and Pam had dancing at their local ballroom.
He regales me with wonderful tales of his children, his love of clothes, shoes, cars and motorbikes – particularly his Triumph Thunderbird 650 "which did a ton, you know. I bet I could have got 120 out of her if I had pushed it!" and so many more memories.
A topic David often mentions is life with his mother and father in Wallington, where his father worked and where he lived with his wife Pam.
One weekend, I asked if he’d like to take a trip down memory lane. He said he would love to although he was a little concerned that he might not remember where the houses were. I reassured him that, armed with a map and bit of modern technology, we would find them!
On Sunday, we began our journey of rediscovery. As we drove to Wallington, we listened to David's favourite Frank Sinatra CD, and he sang along and kicked his legs to 'New York, New York'.
I had a pretty good idea where I was going because my husband kindly googled the road name on Google Maps the night before but I was relying greatly on David getting us to the actual spot. I didn't have to worry though because it all came flooding back to him, and David safely delivered us to the address without a backward glance. He was so thrilled to see his house standing there (and a lovely house it is too), and took immense pride in the fact that the front wall he built was still there, as were the garden gates that he hung – even the shed in the garden which he built himself!
It was lovely to see David so proud. Our final stop was to find his parent's house, which we successfully navigated to. After a spot of lunch and as we drove away, David said "You know, I recognise this area. I used to live around here". "Really?", I said, "Would you like to try and find your old house?" "Oh, yes", he said, "I know the road but I can't remember the number though". So off we went on a 'new' journey of discovery for David. He managed to find the road again for me, and did remember the house and the number.
He hadn't remembered that we had visited it only an hour or so earlier but the lovely thing was that he was able to re-live those wonderful feelings and elated emotions he had only just recently felt, and he was so thrilled to see his wall, gate, shed and garage still standing and intact. He emanated pride over what he had achieved all those years ago.
This is what truly makes being a CAREGiver worthwhile, I thought, as we drove home singing along to Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York". It was a real privilege to spend my Sunday afternoon with such a lovely gentleman and to share his special memories.”
Live Life Well
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