I was diagnosed with Dementia in 2008. I had been unwell for quite a long time and depressed. My sister made an appointment for tests at Orsett Hospital, I then went to Southend hospital for scans and also sent for a radiation scan in Romford. The Doctor came out and asked if I had driven there, I told him I was with my sister and he then told me I had Dementia.
After that I went downhill. I stayed with my son in Somerset for awhile before coming back to my house. I then moved to a Caravan park and for 2 years I didn’t leave the Campsite, except to go to my sister’s and Peaceful Place. I stayed in the Caravan Park until my son left College and then I moved again.
When I first came to Peaceful Place in 2012 it was scary for me. I will always remember the staff that taught me how to make jewellery and the volunteer who came in to show me how to make Shaker cards.
Another Member helped me with the instructions on the new sewing machine and now I use it all the time and I made the bibs for the kitchen and art room. When I learn something I like to see it through to the end.
I know it is difficult for my sons to talk about my Dementia or to come to the Centre. I know they love me, and I do love them very much. I always remember being told that Dementia is like a filing cabinet that gets knocked about and while some things go back in the wrong place, the feeling of love never gets knocked around and it stays the same.
What I miss the most is driving. I drove a couple of weeks after my diagnosis as I needed to drive my son to college. Until then I had been able to visit my children because at this time they didn’t have cars.
What I like about Peaceful Place is that I’m with people who don’t expect you to be 'normal'. You can slip up and forget things and I don’t feel bad if I make mistakes. Coming to Peaceful Place definitely helps me, you find a new life and understanding and acceptance.
I would say to anyone coming into Peaceful Place to look for who people are and not what they may become. If you come to Peaceful Place you will get care and it’s like you have another family.
I would advise another person who has been diagnosed with Dementia to always put your name, address and phone number in your purse.
When the Doctor gave me my diagnosis, he said the last thing to do is give up, keep one step ahead and that’s what I try to do!