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Dementia poems from the heart

Longer, healthier, happier lives
19 July 2017
Michelle Mills

Michelle Mills, Senior Care Giver, from New Zealand has worked at Bupa since 2004. She is passionate about helping people with dementia to live well. She wrote a poetry book to help families and care partners of people living with dementia. These are her words.

People with dementia, families and carer partners often find it difficult to understand what is happening after a diagnosis of dementia. Most people are aware that dementia involves memory loss, but there are many other symptoms too. It’s different for everyone but dementia can mean people struggle to remember names, aren’t able to find the right words and have difficulty following conversations. They may get lost in familiar places, could find it hard to concentrate and, as their dementia progresses, they may no longer be able to communicate using words. By respecting who they are and providing the right support for them, it’s possible for people to live well with dementia. 

I do not know what it is like to live with dementia but I can vicariously, through the many people I have cared for, offer some insight and hope that my words will provide some information as well as some comfort. 

I have been fortunate to have received a lot of support from my co-workers at Bupa and for this I am grateful. I am passionate about caring for people who are living with dementia and I am a strong advocate for getting to know the person and providing care that is directed by that person. 

This is my dementia commitment.

My Mum

In the beginning not much was wrong
The few forgotton words in her favourite song

One day she couldn’t find her way home
Up and down the street she started to roam

Then came the day she forgot my name
It was then I knew things would never be the same

I reflect on all that she was and what she had
Especially the loving relationship with my Dad

Family is paramount she always said
Above all else those words stay in my head

She was always there when I got home from school
Afternoon tea, then homework that was the rule

She championed my highs, comforted by lows
Hugged me and reassured as I told her my woes

I grew up, she began a career
Took it in her stride, conquered her fear

She was respected and even held in awe
Her empathy with people brought to the fore

I could extol her virtues all day and night
But I wouldn’t do her justice so it doesn’t seem right

I sit here now watching her sleep
For my beautiful Mum I silently weep

In the beginning not much was wrong
Just those few missed words to her favourite song

And then at the end of the day
I held her hand as she quietly passed away

Michelle’s book, Poetry From The Heart, can be downloaded online.

Bupa
Longer, healthier, happier lives
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