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Ta-ta to 2014

30 December 2014

Dear figgy puddings,

So that’s it. Another Christmas under our belts.  I hope your stockings were bursting and you’ve had a lovely time with your nearest and dearest. 

I spent mine with my Mammy in the dementia nursing home where she has now lived for over 2 years. Sheila copes with her tiny, blurred world as best she can.  December 25th is also her birthday. She managed a small sip of Bucks fizz and we shared out her Christmas sweeties among the other residents, most of whom, had no visitors.

There are lots of reasons why people with dementia become forgotten residents in care homes; often it's family or friends not having time. In my experience, the main reason is that once someone has little or no memory and is unable to hold a conversation, it simply becomes too difficult to engage and families mistakenly believe they can’t make a difference.

In her 8th year of dementia, my mother has been unable to use language for a long time.  Though she still talks quite a lot, coherent sentences are impossible because within a word or two she becomes entirely lost.

This doesn’t stop us communicating; it’s amazing how much you can glean from facial expressions, intonation and touch.  Sometimes Sheila goes off into peels of giggles at something only she understands.  I laugh along, to keep her company.

This is a heartbreaking way to live, nursing staff are usually too busy taking care of physical needs to offer much emotional care and sufferers need all the support they can get.   

If you would like to make a difference, why not have a think about becoming a dementia friend? It is a little scheme run by the Alzheimer’s Society to help connect people and I’ve put a link at the bottom of this post.

Don’t think I’ve been all goody 2 shoes though, I also sank a fair old amount of Christmas sherry and grew round as a chocolate orange – there is definitely work to do.

Art stuff

THANK YOU again to everyone who homed an artwork in 2014.  As always, I was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm for my recent pictures.  They went very quickly.

If you did buy an artwork, the chances are you will have had communication with Mr Ian Wright who does a sterling job of looking after me and my prints.  Ian always passes on your feedback and kind comments – these are highly valued and appreciated.  Thank you.

I leave you with my recent picture ‘Imagine’ – the title borrowed from the song by elongated Beatle, John Lennon.   My message isn’t new, it just includes more pinheads and aliens.  With so much conflict around the world, it's hard not to react.  No matter how impossible the situation might seem right now, surely it’s a message worth repeating forever and a day.

Finally, as mentioned in earlier posts, I am hoping to finally show some of my new originals in 2015. Having delayed a new exhibition several times (excuses range from broken eyes to a mad-busy time doing commissions and working on books) I plan to get scribbling until late Spring and will  keep you updated. In the meantime, good luck with your New Year resolutions; don’t even bother with ‘give up chocolate and wine, why would you?

I wish only wonderful things for you in 2015.

LOVE AND PEACE,

Sarah-Jane

Ps here’s that link   https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/