I first got involved with Dorothy House about two years ago through my daughter. My Mum has vascular dementia and my daughter wondered if Dorothy House could help in any way. So we had a visit at Mum’s house and it was felt that if Mum would like to come along to the coffee morning at the Dorothy House outreach centre in Peasedown for a chat and a bit of a social morning she’d be more than welcome. And my stepdad, who also has health issues, was invited.
They come along most Thursday mornings and they absolutely love it. The staff and all the volunteers are really good with them. Mum’s dementia is advanced now – she comes out with some strange things sometimes, but the staff and volunteers always treat her with great dignity and kindness. And even though there are lots of people at the coffee morning, they spend time talking to everyone.
Mum forgets she’s been here – sometimes as soon as she leaves – but while she’s here she loves it. It’s helped me enormously. Mum has no mobility and uses a wheelchair, so getting her out of the house is a problem. We can no longer get her in and out of my car so we have to use wheelchair accessible taxis – when they’re available – and we can only go to wheelchair accessible places – so this is ideal. My stepdad has some serious health issues and also uses a wheelchair but he can get in and out of a car with help, whereas Mum is not mobile at all.
I feel it’s really important to get them out and meeting other people. And it’s not easy. It’s an ongoing, stressful situation and there have been times when I’ve had a quiet and tearful chat with a member of staff at Dorothy House – which has really helped me.