Struggling with dementia

Yet again I feel compelled to rant about the lack of support for families with a loved one facing the challenge of dementia. It is like a form of bereavement as partners and children see their loved one seem to disappear beyond recognition.

As a carer it is so very difficult to have any resbite and so often the carer becomes ill and emotionally drained. After all they are not trained experts but are sent away from a doctor’s surgery with very little knowledge or information on how to communicate with somebody who is living in a very scary if not frustrating world. Too often dementia patients are taking to day centres where they may not actuualy want to be, it can be intimidating and perhaps one-to-one interaction would suit them better so seek help from a professional locally to you.

For those that are struggling please seek help and remember the Alzheimer’s Society have great information available and all free. If you are looking for a new charity/cause to support then please put this illness on your list.

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Celebration of Life

I have just returned from a funeral and we all take what ‘fits well’ for us from the minister’s address. What was particularly nice today was the minister knew the deceased and her family well and it was personal. What I really liked was how he reminded the bereaved that the community were there for them, and in this case it really was true. We were all there to celebrate a life and were united in that.

As I always say in life we only get out what we are prepared to put in and when people give of themselves to others it is no hardship for that kindness to be returned. During the day’s events I had some interesting discussions with various attendees; both friends and family members who openly shared their feelings about loved ones they had lost.

I had a great chat with a lovely elderly lady and we agreed how comforting it is when nice things are said…but more importantly we discussed how it is also true of telling those we love them and appreciate them when they are alive.

I often post saying tell those you love today and every day. Live your life well and as I said to one lady have that second ice-cream..especially on a hot day like today.

Family love

Not only have we been blessed with amazing weather this weekend but many of us are blessed with having a loving family. I count myself in this category and had a beautiful day Saturday at a family wedding. I won’t name names but my niece looked absolutely stunning, and, as she walked to meet her wonderful hubby-to-be a few tears were shed by many a woman…and a few men.

There is nothing better than being surrounded by all generations of family at such special events, and our family has many interesting layers including second marriages. We are really lucky that we all mix well and enjoy each other’s company…we are family and that is all that matters. For a lovely lady that reads my blog you looked fab in that pink dress and you rock that sparkling cane!  

I am apologising publicly for my ‘mum dancing’ no excuses as I was sober – that’s the way I dance!!

Along with the joy of celebrating a beautiful union of a great couple there were moments of reflection of those who are no longer with us to share the day. Indeed, this was even  acknowledged within the speeches. At the end of the evening I collected flowers from the tables and yesterday placed them at church in memory of my own mother who I know would be so proud of all her children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren.

I had an interesting chat with my local minister and we agreed that it is only human to think of those we have loved and lost at times of celebrations and shed tears of happiness for that love we remember and hold dear.

If you know somebody who is recently bereaved make time to see them and allow them to talk freely about their loved one it really does help.

 

Losing calories by kissing

 

My kindle book  ‘The Little book of kisses’ is available from Amazon to download and features some useful if not amusing information about kissing…worth knowing. For those romantics out there that still think kissing is important this is one for you…and yes you can lose calories by kissing!

 

What’s wrong with me…get writing

Having many strings to one’s bow often means that some aspects of who we are and what we do get neglected. Mine of late has been my own writing projects in terms of both marketing them and writing itself.

My regular followers and friends know that the past few years I have been a mature student and also working with dementia clients and their families which has taken me away from ‘my writing babies’. So today I am back being a writer and dusting off my manuscripts along with all the other poor tortured writers and back pitching…

At a family event this weekend I was reminded about one of my very special projects now available on Amazon. ‘A Mother’s Love’ which includes great advice from my mentor and best friend:-

Mother-s love (1)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annie-Manning/e/B005XXYJL0

Moving forward

After the loss of a loved one it is very hard for the bereaved to move forward and accept a new era of their life without them. For many older married couples the remaining spouse may have been a full time carer for sometime and that became their life’s role.

Speaking to a recently widowed lady I know it is not uncommon for the older generation especially to do everything together and this in itself can make it hard to venture out alone in search of new hobbies.

As with retirement many people find that they at last have time to persue the interests that previously may have been out of the question. With bereavement it is so often the case that a love one will feel an unwarranted sense of guilt to be seen to enjoy themselves.

Whatever your situation it is always a one step at a time process and regaining one’s sense of purpose takes time. For anyone recently bereaved please seek help and talk honestly to those that can offer support. Remember that you do not have to be a regular church-goer to speak to a local minister they are trained professionals and bereavement support is part of their community role.

Coping with grief

In my privileged position in working with the bereaved I recognise that everyone grieves in different ways, at different times and in a family unit it is a very difficult time for all concerned.

One of the key things I have noticed is how parents hide their own feelings from their children feeling it inappropriate to cry in front of them. Of course this is to be expected and in a way for some admired but for the grieving parent who may have lost their life time partner it makes their own journey placed on hold to a certain degree.

The British way of being strong, keeping a stiff upper lip is one which frustrates me terribly and this, I speak from personal experience; as a child surrounded by adults set on surpressing their own grief and probably my own too. I always maintain to speak of our loved ones and remember them keeps them alive in our minds, our hearts and of course helps the bereavement process…to deny their existence is not only cruel but of no use to anyone.

If you know of any one mourning a loved one reach out to them and communicate, let them talk, let them cry if they need to…it’s normal. Most of all do not avoid visiting and please do not stop mentioning their loved one either – think of a funny story or a great occasion you shared.

 

Breast Cancer Awareness

Well done to all those ladies that took part in The Real Full Monty Ladies Night for breast cancer awareness. It was emotive yet positive viewing and the more that awareness helps with this disease the better. There were some very brave ladies taking part all credit to them.

Having lost two relatives to breast cancer many years back one can’t help wondering if more information was available and they had been privilege to the awareness we have now whether their stories could have been different.

Having worked within the not-for-profit sector for many years it is no secret that awareness is just as valuable as the fundraising for on-going research.

International Women’s Day

Today I started celebrating International Women’s Day by having a ladies breakfast at the Waffle House with two of my favourite women. I am extremely fortunate in having known and worked with with some amazing women in my life many of whom have been great mentors.

I look on with pride at the younger generation of females who are so confident, sassy and non-judgemental and who have ambitions and the energy to follow their dreams. Spurred on by positive supportive mothers and great role models in other female family members and successful friends no challenge is insurmountable.

As a mother of a daughter for many reasons I realise the world can be both a cruel place and one of great opportunity and for those wanting to take the plunge and make something good of their lives…it will happen.

Last year I attended a great women’s conference where a speaker suggested that world leaders and heads of large corporates should adopt the many positive female traits of compassion, empathy, caring and sensitivity to work towards world peace and fairer and more honest business practices.

Here’s to being a women with the world at our feet.

 

Helping the bereaved not ignoring them

Earlier this week during a visit with a bereaved lady we both agreed how we put on a brave face with those around who are also struggling in coming to terms with a loss of a loved one. Why is that? Over the past few years I have read many books on the beravement journey of others and have my own experiences to recollect too and what is blatently obvious is that to deny somebody’s right to grieve openly is of no use.

I am certain I would have said this before -my own mother said people crossed the road to avoid having to speak to her after my father died suddenly. It made me cross and upset then as a child and still does. However, shall we just be angry with the person that does that or should we feel sorry that they cannot find the words…any words?  As I have written in various articles just a hand on the arm or shoulder and ‘i’m thinking of you’ will suffice nobody who is recently bereaved expects you to say something profound honestly!

What we need as a bereaved person is for people to acknowledge our pain and the existence of those we have loved and lost. We have such a long way to go still in this country in dealing with how we approach the subject of death and it is something all of us will have to encounter and deal with at some stage of our life.

In a world where people post so many private things about their life (which frankly I would rather not see) I find it hard to believe that talking about death leaves them dumb struck.

As always I am sending a little reminder that it is after the funeral people need you to to phone or visit and let them know their loved one is not forgotten.  For anybody who is feeling alone in their grief then please talk to somebody, your loved one would not want you to suffer in silence and most of all celebrate their life.