‘A’ is a 70 something gentleman, living with dementia. He is husband, dad, and granddad. Huddersfield born, ‘A’ is a retired engineer, who has travelled the world and worked abroad. He has an active and enquiring mind, now challenged by his condition. His confidence to share conversation and tell his fascinating story has, understandably, been diminished by his condition and by reduced opportunities to socialise, because of the Covid pandemic. A’s wife cares for him in their family home. Their grown-up children and their grandchildren live locally and share an active family life.
On my first visit to ‘A’ he explained about and shared his rage at the ‘lost’ words, that left gaps in our conversation. We agreed to use the internet and my own knowledge to fill these gaps: it became a verbal crossword puzzle game during which we shared frustration and dark humour. He went on to share his lack of confidence (and his desire) to converse in a group situation. Through further visits to his home he spoke about a hobby and interest from childhood, a hobby that has become a life passion: model trains and trolley buses. So much so, that ‘A’ arranged for the shipping of a trolley bus from Canada to the National Trolley Bus Museum in the UK!
‘A’ said that, because of our conversations, he now felt confident enough to visit a group. I supported ‘A’ to visit a dementia support group in Huddersfield for the first time, his wife then supported him on further visits, and they now attend weekly. ‘A’ shared the information that there is a Huddersfield themed trolley bus weekend in July 2023. We felt that this may prove of interest to other Huddersfield folk and that Community Plus could support with publicity. ‘A’ felt that he would like to produce a presentation about trolley buses and share with others.
From the support of Community Plus, ‘A’ s confidence to share conversation in a group, whilst acknowledging the challenges he faces has grown. He feels valued and less isolated as a result. ‘A’ is now making a positive contribution to others wellbeing, enhancing his own feelings of worth. ‘A’s wife can share her story with other carers, knowing that, despite her challenges, she is, ‘not alone’