We spent the weekend hosting a reunion for my partners “petrol head “friends. They had all met through a car club over twenty years ago and shared many car related experiences in the years that followed. It was lovely hearing them reminisce about their camping trips to watch Le Mans (24 hour race in France), trips to Nürburgring (race track in Germany) and other track days around the country. I learnt the stories behind all the nick names, the different cars they have all had, and some of the mechanical issues they had overcome.
At the end of the evening I couldn’t help but reflect that their passion for cars is such a huge part of their lives. Should they ever have dementia it would be so crucial for a care home to know about this passion. With dementia short term memory decreases but things that happened over fifty years ago may be as clear as if they were yesterday. My partner’s friends may not be driving around a track when they are in their nineties but any discussion about cars, race tracks, and car mechanics is probably going to make them happy.
When residents join one of our homes we ask relatives or friends to complete the Alzheimer’s Society ‘This is me’…it’s a simple and practical document that tries to help capture someone’s life, their highs and lows, likes and dislikes, need preferences and interests. It can help everyone deliver person- centred care that is tailored specifically for the person’s needs.
Unfortunately we don’t always get these returned and it’s such a shame as the information can really make a difference in the care we can provide an individual. In the past we have learnt stories about individuals during their eulogy and staff have commented that they never knew that. One family did provide details and by knowing the gentleman’s previous career, Head of Banqueting in a top London hotel he was able to spend time with our chef ensuring that service would be on time and to his standards. We really hope that everyone understands that completing their ‘This is Me’ or providing Homes with a story about the individuals life is not about Homes being nosey it’s about fully understanding the individual who may not be able to tell us their passion but may light up if we reminisce about it.
For more details about the Alzheimer’s Society ‘This is me’ document please visit https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/thisisme