Over the course of the next few months we’ll be collecting contributions for our forthcoming “In Our Own Words” pamphlet which will provide a vehicle for people living with dementia to share their own thoughts and experiences. This pamphlet will be circulated amongst healthcare professionals and other people working in areas where they have regular contact with those living with dementia. It’s hoped the pamphlet will increase awareness and begin conversations about what it’s like to live with dementia every day. (More of this later. Watch this space).
In the run up to the pamphlet’s publication, our Outreach Officer, Jan Carson has been facilitating some online writing workshops with people living with dementia. For the last two sessions we’ve been graciously hosted by Julie McCaughey and James Erskine of the Alzheimer’s Association who introduced us to some of the people who regularly participate in their online conversation groups. They proved to be an extremely chatty and very imaginative group of individuals. It’s fair to say we did more laughing together than actual writing but we still managed to come up with some remarkable work.
Over two 90 minute Zoom sessions, 16 participants worked with Jan to share their stories, write and chat through ideas. We listened to some readings together: two postcard stories and a Billy Collins poem. The workshop’s theme was objects. Each participant brought a special object and developed a piece of writing, explaining what it was and it’s significance. We found out about travel experiences, family dynamics, favourite pets and memories of work amongst other things. We were even treated to an impromptu performance on the Banjo-lele (which we were reliably informed is a cross between a banjo and ukulele. Whatever it was, it sounded great).
Both sessions were an absolute treat and we’re very grateful to Julie and James who worked hard to make them possible. It’s not easy to find means of connection and community during these strange Lockdown times but our hours together felt almost as warm and companionable as an in person workshop might have done. We’ve been in a good mood ever since. We’re looking forward to sharing more information about the pamphlet soon and some details on how you can get involved.