John* and Janet* first came to our creative dementia hub in Cornwall in the summer of 2015. John struggles with hand and leg mobility, has limited spatial awareness and has moments of ‘blankness’ due to dementia combined with Parkinson's disease.

Janet enjoys the companionship, conversation and a variety of activities that she participates in at the hub, knowing the trained support workers and professional artists are also there to take good care of John.

John has a great time at the group. When he laughs, smiles or giggles, the room lights up. John tries most of the activities, but at times he is just happy to sit and be in the company of Janet and the others.

From the hub to the home

Sadly, John’s condition is worsening and Janet feels uncomfortable leaving him alone at home. Similarly, because John often gets tired, or is unable to attend the hub due to his mobility problems or the inconvenience of public transport in rural Cornwall, they are both missing out on the social interaction and support provided by the hub.

Consequently, United Response are now supporting John on a weekly basis in his home. This helps provide John with the creative stimulation he enjoys, whilst allowing Janet the opportunity to have some time to herself, with the knowledge that John is in safe and familiar hands.

The creative dementia hub: "invaluable and life-saving"

Janet and John feel the hub has been “invaluable and indeed life-saving". They "have felt supported, cherished and secure in the knowledge that we are in a professional, friendly environment, with exceptionally empathetic, dedicated people who have become our friends".

Janet and John also hope to continue attending the group session once they work out their issues with transport.

"Thank you for seeing beyond the obvious limitations of dementia," says Janet. "You recognise John for the person he was and still is. You also recognise, listen to and try to address my hopes and fears."

Read more about the project and donate to our appeal

Sadly, since publication, John has passed away. His family would like this blog to remain as a tribute to him. 

Sarah Riddlestone, fundraising assistant.

*names have been anonymised