As Dementia specialists we are passionate about helping to improve our collective understanding of life from the perspective of those living with dementia.
As Dementia specialists we are passionate about helping to improve our collective understanding of life from the perspective of those living with dementia. So we always try to think outside the box with creative ways to bring all different generations into the conversation.
One example is the story telling competition that Virginia Water Library is holding, asking the local community to submit their short stories about their resident teddy bear, Fabel, and how he came to be at the library.
Of course, we have written a story that aims to teach children about the importance and mutual benefits of spending time with the older generation and help them to see the world from the perspective of senior members of the community.
Our story features Bert the Bear, a Home Instead teddy bear client living with dementia in Virginia Water.
Memory Lane Friends ~A Tale of Two Teddy Bears Building Community through Storytelling
Bert the teddy bear has lived in Virginia Water all his life. He had always been very sociable and loved to talk to everyone he met. Bert had an incredible memory for his childhood during the war, and he loved to share his stories with anyone who would listen.
However, as Bert grew older, he developed dementia and found it very hard to remember recent events, which made him feel silly. He lost all his confidence to talk.
One day, Bert’s Home Instead care giver took him to the Virginia Water library where he met Fabel, the library’s resident teddy bear. Like Bert, Fabel has lived in Virginia Water all his life but was starting to feel very lonely and no longer part of the community he had known and loved for so long.
So, Fabel joined the library to help children learn to read, whilst enjoying all the different activities the library runs regularly to connect the community, things like coffee mornings and scrabble afternoons.
When Fabel first met Bert the bear he was amazed by all of his stories and recollections of times gone-by in Virginia water, and how much his story-telling brought colour and life to every conversation. Fabel realised that Bert had so much to share and decided to help him get his confidence and voice back. Fabel spoke with parents and teachers of local children and arranged for them to come to the library to listen to Bert’s stories, helping them with their history lessons.
Everyone in the community adored Bert’s stories. His confidence soared! Bert, the children, their parents and the teachers realised that they were benefiting greatly from the tales and knowledge of different generations and that spending time together and learning about one another, and their different experiences was actually really fun and beneficial to everyone.
These days, one of Bert’s favourite things to do is to visit the Virginia Water library with his Home Instead caregiver, to meet with his new dear friend, Fabel. You will often see Fabel and Bert together at the library, socialising over a cuppa and cake at the weekly Tuesday coffee morning, and they especially enjoy all the attention they get from the lovely ladies at Thursday morning Knit & Natter club
The social stimulation has had such amazing benefits for Bert’s overall health and happiness, that he is walking back and forth to the library with his Home Instead care giver as his mobility and strength are also improving day by day. It means so much to Bert and Fabel to stay living well in their own homes in Virginia Water where they are happy and once again feel like valued members of the community.
For Bert with his dementia, the ability to remain living in familiar surroundings is very comforting and grounding, when many other things in his life often feel confusing and scary. Bert the bear is very happy that his Home Instead care giver took him to the library and very grateful that his new friend, Fabel, took time to get to know and understand him, taking his paw to lead him back into the light.