Dementia: ‘Strictly No Thanks’

Image result for strictly come dancing floor graphics

Maureen and I have always been fond of ballroom dancing.  I often take her in hold at home and we strut our stuff in the kitchen or lounge.  We are a little out of step following Maureen’s stroke and my bilateral hip replacements.  Some years ago we got to Gold Medal standard with Latin and Ballroom.  We are always taking about rejoining a group of friends we used to go dancing with at a local studio.  Whenever we bump into one couple we always say: ‘we’ll be back’.  I genuinely believe it won’t be long until we are back on the floor and I may just have the courage to lead my Dancing Queen.

A couple of days ago when taking to a colleague from the Memory Service dancing came up in our discussion.  I contact Kelly occasionally, as I do a small amount of voluntary work for Dementia Engagement.  She asked me when we would be along to the Tuesday afternoon Dance Session that she has organised?  I had to tell her that she would never see us on the floor at her sessions.  The reason being quite simple: Maureen doesn’t want to go to activities dedicated to those who have ‘memory issues’ – mustn’t use the term ‘dementia’ you see with the Memory Service!

When I mentioned Kelly’s initiative to Maureen she said: ‘You are not taking me along to make an example of me’.   I had suggested that  we might help Kelly out by taking some organisational responsibilty for Tuesday afternoons.  Maureen made it plain that she would sooner stay at home, alone, and let me do my ‘voluntary bit’.  Within minutes I saw her point.

We will go dancing again; perhaps later today.   I’m sure I only have to put the right music on and we’ll be off somewhere in the house.  When we venture out to blow off the cobwebs at a dance studio, or hall, it will be along with familiar faces.  Attending events put on by the Memory Service, or other well meaning organistaions is, not for us.  We both still have the capacity to choose how we want to spend our lives – we don’t need others organising things for us.

By the way the photograph is of Kevin (from Grimsby) and his partner.  His dad Keith taught us the slow foxtrot a few years ago.  I don’t think we would get a ‘Ten from any of Them’.  However, it would be our version of the dance at a venue of our choice!

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About Remember Me

I am a retired adult educator. My wife had a stroke in February 2014 and now has mixed dementia. Her recovery from stroke has been exceptional apart from 50% loss of peripheral vision and vascular damage. 'Dharma For Dementia' is my approach to being Maureem's Care Partner: it aims to end the suffering of 'Prescribed Disengagement' (Swaffer) .
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4 Responses to Dementia: ‘Strictly No Thanks’

  1. Dominique says:

    Dancing is a fabulous fun way to keep active – not just physically, but mentally as well. Steve and I met through ballroom dancing lessons, and we still continue to go now, even though he occasionally struggles to remember the steps on the dancefloor. I just take the role of “driver” around the floor and he gets there eventually. You should see if there are any dances held in your local area (not necessarily by the Memory Service) and go and have a look. I’m sure you wouldn’t necessarily have to spend money just to have a look to see if it suits you both – if you quietly explain your reasons I’m sure the person on the door would be understanding. Good luck, and I hope you get to take your Dancing Queen out somewhere and strut your stuff!! 🙂

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  2. Remember Me says:

    It’s only a matter of time Dom. Our old dancing mates are awaiting our return. That Argentinian Tango will be perfected very soon.

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  3. Jenny says:

    I love that picture I now have in my head of the two of your dancing around the house!
    The ‘special’ groups however are such a can of worms. From the perspective of a parent of a child with additional support needs I would much rather James went to ‘ordinary’ community groups with the correct level of support he needs to participate. Sadly though the welcome, education and understanding we need to make that work for us isn’t always there.
    And from the perspective of someone who works with people with dementia I can see where the well-meaningness is coming from but you are so right; it is not for everyone. What you really need, I suspect, is the welcome, understanding and maybe support from any regular dance group and go along just like any old regular folk. Keeeeep Daaancing!!

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  4. Remember Me says:

    That’s it Jenny people who love Maureen understand those that don’t never will.

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