Monday, 30 August 2010

Why we are doing this - Part 3

Ian Thomas - Director of Services Alzheimer’s Society :

“Dear Peter and Gary
I wanted to write to you both personally to thank you for the enormous contribution you made to the conference on Tuesday. (July 13th Act on Dementia)
It was extremely brave of you Peter to show the film and talk in the way in which you did. I know how hard it must have been - and the impact on you was clearly enormous. I felt though that the impact you made on some very influential people was also enormous and no one could have done it better. Thank you.
And thank you Gary for sitting on the panel after the opera. Again this is not easy - but you handled the questions with knowledge and confidence. Of all of us sitting there you were the expert because you are living with it - and I think we all recognised that. Thank you
Having lived through dementia with both my mother and my sister I do know what it is like. All I can offer you is the support of the organisation - I hope we will be able to meet your needs, and my personal support and thanks for doing such a valuable job for people with dementia and their carers across Wales.”

Act On Dementia Opera

Claire Abrahams - Executive Assistant to the Group Chief Executive Grwp Gwalia Cyf:

“I just wanted to say on behalf of Grwp Gwalia and the University of Glamorgan, a big thank you to both you and your dad for coming on Tuesday and making it such a memorable day.  I think everyone there appreciated how hard it was for your dad to watch the film in a room full of people; it is very different to watching it in your own space at home.  It probably gave out one of the most powerful messages of the day and we are so grateful to your dad for that.

I would also like to thank you for taking part in the panel at the end.  I'm sure it wasn't easy, but you were great and brought a very different perspective to the whole Q & A session.

I will be writing to Ann Carpenter separately to thank her for putting us in touch with you.”

Michael Williams – Gwalia Group:

“Dear Peter and Gary,

On behalf of Gwalia and the University I am writing to thank you for your contribution to the Conference on the 13th July. We have had considerable supportive and favourable feed back from delegates. Your session was really appreciated. I think both you and Gary will have understood from the reaction of the delegates just how emotional, moving and educational your film was for them. You not only showed what the illness has done to your wife Ann, you also conveyed vividly how it has affected you, your family and Ann’s carers.

We hope the Conference will contribute to the better understanding of dementia and persuade organisations from the different sectors to work towards providing a better service for sufferers and carers.”

Diane Collins - support worker:

“My story is only a short one, for the simple reason I have only known Ann for a very short time. As I am relatively a new recruit in my job as a support worker, I certainly am learning and becoming very aware of how life can be turned upside down in a very short space of time.
Ann and her husband Peter decided 7 years ago to take early retirement, and move to Spain, where they bought a nice property, and started to have a wonderful life together. From photographs that I have seen, they were socialising a lot with family and friends, and with mostly wonderful weather and an easier way of living they thought they had it made.
But after 5 years things started to go seriously wrong. After several visits to Doctors in Spain, she was diagnosed with depression! After several months Ann was not getting any better, being very forgetful and distant. Peter decided to return to the U.K. and get second opinions.
On their return, Ann suffered a massive stroke, which left her paralysed down the left side, loss of speech, and eventually incontinence. After months of therapy and constant changes of medication Ann was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Ann in the last 12 months has learned to walk slowly again, and with the perseverance, determination and dedication of her husband and family and with the care provided it is still a long hard road to get her life back on track. Life for them will never be the same again.
Ann is a lovely lady. I started visiting a few months ago, getting to know her a little better each week. My biggest breakthrough was when after only the second visit Ann actually remembered and spoke my name. We went for a drive in the car for the first time, had great difficulty in manoeuvring her in and out. I took her to a Garden Centre Restaurant, and it took me half an hour to get her to sit down. She grinned at me all the time, but we finally succeeded. Ann shows a really wicked streak and has the most wonderful smile. She will nod and acknowledges you with expressions, her eyes tell it all. Sometimes she looks a little scared, you wonder what is going on in her mind. Each week I hope that there may be more breakthroughs but will there?
The main reason for my concern with this great lady is the fact that Ann is only 61 years of age, 3 years older than I am.
I feel that it is a good job we don’t know what is around that next corner.
Why does life have to be so cruel?”

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