I helped an elderly lady get back home yesterday, ‘I’m looking for home’ she said, ‘I’ve been in that house but it’s not my house’ she said as I walked her back.
I know her fairly well but she doesn’t know me anymore. Let’s go inside and get warm I said. Even though she had the front door key she didn’t recognise it as her home, but we got in, I made a cup of tea, sat her down and she spoke of family, referred to photographs, even told me she’d put the fire on to make sure it was warm for her return.
Her son rang whilst I was there, he was angry with her for wandering but relieved I had found her! A passing off-duty carer had seen us so rang to let him know.
‘He wants to put me in a home, I’m not doing that’ she said. We spoke more about care homes, I explained she could visit a few, talk to staff, see the lovely facilities, and see what she thought. She quite liked that idea, especially when I told her about the lovely meals they prepare, activities they lay-on and socialising she could do.
The one thing that will always stick with me for the rest of my life is what she said with real lucidity and sadness in her eyes ‘I just want to belong’. With a tear in my eye it all made sense. Isn’t that what we all want. Moving from your home into a care home if you have dementia or not is a massive life changing decision, and she knew that.
Her carer arrived and I said my goodbyes, with kisses and hugs and the hope that the powers that be understand that all she wants is to simply ‘belong’. I think that’s something we should all bear in mind; it’s not just about provision of care is it?
Take from this what you will but remember that social care is a luxury we cannot afford to lose. People like this wonderful, beautiful and intelligent woman deserve to be cared for by those amazing individuals who are only too happy to sit down and talk, ignore her confusion and make her feel safe, secure in a place she can belong.
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