Fabulous Forgetful Friends, our dementia policy and influencing group, recently visited the Museum of Science & Media in Bradford along with staff and volunteers from the Whitworth Art Gallery. We had great fun, learned new things and chatted with members of a local reminiscence group.
Thank you to the Whitworth for inviting us, and thank you to the National Museum of Science & Media for hosting us. Our group had a fantastic day.
Sally Ferris has written a lovely blog about the trip:
Yesterday, the Fabulous Forgetful Friends had a day trip to the Museum of Science and Media in Bradford.
As an organiser I was nearly put off by the snowy weather but my fears weren’t realised at all; we had a great day.
How can one evaluate the benefits of such events? And is anyone out there listening?? I’m not an academic researcher doing a randomised controlled study in carefully controlled (and artificial) conditions. So I will recount the myriad things that occurred during the day to enrich the lives of the participants.
A taxi was sent to pick three of the members up from home. The final man who was picked up was getting in a muddle, stressing that he couldn’t find his phone and keys. One of his ‘Forgetful Friends’ went into his home and helped him to do this. By the time they reached the coach they were laughing and joking about this “bloody dementia!”
I picked up 3 members in my car. Each of them greeted the other with such warmth. One member who struggles with her speech always greets people with a big hug and kiss – so much more welcoming than me!
On the coach are all sorts of volunteers from the Whitworth Art Gallery, young and old, artists and other retired people. For our 55 year old member, sitting at the back of the coach telling a young bloke about his music collection makes a refreshing change from the usual conversations about his difficulties. In fact, the sharing of thoughts, memories and observations at the museum, with new people, is really stimulating to the group. “This is fantastic!” said the lady with the speech difficulty.
We had lunch, with posh and unusual sandwiches – again, worthy of comment from the group.
On the journey home there were lots of conversations although the lady with the speech difficulty sat next to her friend, mostly, in contented silence. There was no pressure from either of them to initiate conversation as they were both tired by their activities.
Once back at the base we said a group thankyou to the Whitworth staff, initiated by one of our members, and heartily accompanied by the others. Members then got into their taxis and cars for lifts home. There was an enormous amount of giggling in my car between the ladies about getting their seatbelts on. Seatbelts always confuse our members but, together, they find this fact hilarious – and there’s plenty of innuendo, which they all get.
The oldest group member tells the ladies how much he’s enjoyed a day away from his wife who instructs him every half an hour to use the toilet! They all enjoy sharing the sense of freedom and adventure that he refers to, away from the concerned or critical eyes of family. The fact that my car has a flat battery and won’t start, and that I’m an incompetent mechanic, is another cause for laughter. I’m often told “You’re as bad as us!” – and that’s fine by me!