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Dementia is cruel. You’ve loved this person for years and years, you’ve gathered so many shared memories together…seeing this person seem to slip away, unable to recall those precious times, can be so heartbreaking. Often, couples even have to start living apart so that the partner with dementia can be properly cared for.

But not so here, at Hatherlow House in Southport. We were started as a pilot initiative from MHA in enabling couples living with dementia to continue sharing their lives together, and so far, we seem to be doing it very very well. Just the other day, I saw two of our residents, Joan and Tom Nelson, taking a visitor around our sunny garden with its decorations, flowers and benches. When she saw their ornamental poppy and Shropshire Lad rose from their old family home on display, I heard her say, “I love how personalised it is here. For you and everyone else.”

It was so heartwarming, because that’s exactly what I want Hatherlow House to be. A place where people with dementia are encouraged to remember happy times and have the surroundings to express themselves, and where their partners also have the support they need too.

We actually had one of our residents’ meetings shortly afterwards, where I make sure residents are properly informed and empowered to drive life at Hatherlow House the way they want it. So this time, they discussed starting a choir, organising a theatre trip and setting up a small essentials shop. I let them know the bistro staff had got on to their requests for more vegetarian food and were introducing some new options as they’d wanted – but the meeting was theirs, as it should be.

I stepped in where I needed to – for example, to let them know about the new additional vegetarian meals at the bistro, which some people had wanted – but the meeting was theirs, as it should be.

So that was a typical day here. And I was glad that it was obvious to the visitor, in her short stay, that life at Hatherlow House really is personalised. For everyone.

Although we specialise in being a place for couples where one partner has dementia, we have plenty of individuals too. Some have dementia, some haven’t. I get a lot of inquiries about Hatherlow House from people living or working here and I’m always pleased to have a chat and answer any questions, set up visits and so on. So if you’re interested, do get in contact - 01704 503 920 or paula.mudd@mha.org.uk – and I’d love to speak to you.

 

Paula Mudd

Retirement Housing Manager

Hatherlow House, Southport

 

 

 

 

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