By Dolly Klaver, Tabulam & Templer Homes for the Aged © dementiacareinternational
For Mother’s Day, I came up with the idea of setting up a Café. I thought it might be a nice idea to have a special room for families to come if they wanted to visit their mum, but couldn’t take her out. It turned out to be a great success. I had lovely music playing and the tables were all decorated beautifully. Many relatives had a wonderful time with their mum enjoying the ‘good coffee’ and scones with jam and cream. One experience stands out above all else.
Nora, one of our residents, has dementia and wanders all day aimlessly through the facility, mumbling away in a jumble of German/English/Hungarian. Nothing makes sense anymore; however she has an incredible son, Charles who religiously comes to visit her every weekend. He walks around with her and just keeps her company. Sometimes she recognises him but most of the time she doesn’t.
On Mother’s Day, Charles brought Nora down to my Café. He was not confident they would be able to stay as he had tried before to get Nora to sit, but she had refused. However, this time, between Charles, myself, and another staff member we persuaded her to take a seat. I served them coffee and scones and Nora sat with her son for at least three quarters of an hour – long enough to share their lovely afternoon tea together.
As they were leaving, her son turned to me. He had tears in his eyes when he said, ‘Do you know it has been years since I have been able to sit down and have a cup of coffee with my mum.’ He was so happy that they had this time together. And for me… it was worth every second!
It is such a privilege to work with our elders, to be there for them at the end of their lives. Sometimes life gets too busy and we forget why we are here. This sure made up for it.