Progress in process

Our host, Sharon, describes the recent journey of one of her clients and the progress he has made.

‘Harry has vascular dementia. He lives with his wife, but had become emotionally and physically detached from her making him very isolated. He had been to a day centre, but wouldn’t settle, he was agitated all day, escaped when he could and was asked not to go back.

Harry started with me on a one to one basis, he would arrive at approximately 10.15, wouldn’t take his coat off, would have a cup of tea then say ‘well you’ve been lovely but I’m off now’ (we both laugh about that now). The rest of the day would be trying to keep him occupied, though no activity we did would last longer than 5 minutes so often our days resulted in us having to go out for a walk.

After a few weeks two men and a lady joined us in the group. I really started to worry about Harry at this stage as he really didn’t enjoy having to stay in all day, and wouldn’t really join in with any conversations, or activities and was still continuously saying he wanted to go. He said he didn’t know who these people were or what he was doing here and furthermore he had things to do at home. This was very unsettling for the new members of the group.

Over the weeks, however, we started to introduce all the things Harry enjoyed doing but as a group – jigsaws, dominoes, painting and chatting about our pasts and interests. Eventually Harry started to blend with the group, working as a team with the jigsaws, chatting and banter whilst playing a game of dominoes.

After lunch was always a particularly bad time for Harry wanting to go home, but now it’s a time when the 3 gentlemen sit and talk about their time in National Service, their occupations and generally have a laugh. Harry now loves the fact that he was first to my group and has helped the others settle in and often talks about what we did when it was just me and him. If he does mention going home I always make a joke out of it and always reassure him he will be back home with his wife for 4 o’clock, which he now accepts.

When I pick Harry up on a Thursday morning, he now walks out the door asking if his friends are in the car and will shake all their hands and introduce himself to them. He very often brings his camera with him to take photos and will more often than not bring photos to show the rest of the group, explaining who everyone is to each person.

Harry is a very valued member of our little group and I’m please to know that he has found some new friends, which he enjoys spending time with.’