Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Fred 2

You may remember Fred and Ginger, whom I wrote about on Valentine's Day.  Well, the other morning, a chilly one, I was having a little wander up Totnes' Fore Street gathering my thoughts after a visit. And I met Fred wrapped up toastie warm, out with one of his carers who was given Ginger some much needed time to herself.

Fred is a bit like a lot of us in that he needs to go out of the house everyday and feel the fresh air on his face.  So doing this is  built into his routine and stops his frustration levels rising sky high.   Because of his advanced dementia he doesn't remember me from Adam.  Heck,  he doesn't even know his own wife most days so recalling the face of some random occupational therapist who occasionally visits him at home would be a very long shot indeed.  Most of my visits to Fred's place are when he is at his day care centre after all.  It gives Ginger time to talk freely without having to worry about his immediate needs.

When I saw Fred my first thought was that there was no need to acknowledge him as he wouldn't know who I was.  Then I told myself off.  I wouldn't purposely ignore anyone else in the street though I'm told I it happens accidentally when I'm off  in my own little la-la daydream world.  So why would I be rude to Fred?   I'm so glad that I didn't go with my first impulse.

'Hello Fred' I took his hand and greeted him with a big smile.  'Well, hello!' he said heartily, beaming back at me with his lovely cheeky grin.    He returned the handshake  enthusiastically and then tried to convey something about my own cosy clothing, a felt coat that I'm rather partial to, touching the collar as he did so . Whilst I was with him, I also got to meet one of his favourite carers who Ginger had told me so much about too.  It was an encounter that I would have been silly to have missed.

Sometimes I've heard people who look after others with dementia talk in pretty hopeless terms about providing positive experiences for those that they care for.  'What's the point,' they said 'When they don't remember it afterwards'.  I'll grant that must be so hard to bear sometimes.  But what my chance meeting with Fred brought home to me is that sometimes a person doesn't have to be laying down memories for experiences to be special to them and the others around them.  Mindfulness applies to those with dementia too and enjoying the current moment can be plenty enough.


  1. A beautiful and thought provoking post :)

  2. Thank you! My mum has dementia.