As part of our person-centred approach to dementia care, United Response staff habitually sit down with those they support to set – and review – what are termed hopes, dreams and wishes goals.

Such goals, of course, must be realistic. So, when 75-year-old Sylvia told our West Sussex support team that her greatest wish was to get married, at first they were stumped as to how they might help her realise this seemingly unattainable dream.

Although Sylvia has a wonderful relationship with partner John, she confided to staff that marriage wasn’t on the cards. However, after further discussion with Sylvia, it transpired that what she really longed for was to experience all of the exciting things associated with such a unique occasion: that special feeling that comes with wearing a beautiful dress, carrying a wedding bouquet, posing for photographs and being the centre of attention.

With that, United Response staff decided that Sylvia would have her special day.

Making it happen

Senior support worker Susan Welch arranged for Sylvia to visit a wedding fayre and they had a great time browsing the different stalls and chatting to the exhibitors about wedding arrangements.

When they reached a stand displaying wedding gowns, Sylvia became giddy describing the dress she’d always wanted to wear to wedding boutique owner Tracey Basten, who invited her to visit her shop in person and try on some of her favourites. Sylvia accepted immediately.

In fact, Tracey was so taken with Sylvia’s story that she arranged for a local newspaper to chronicle the event.

A day to remember

The day was a great success. Sylvia had a blast trying on dresses, and having her hair styled and her face made up for the occasion. Flowers and bubbly were thrown in, and a reporter and photographer captured every moment.

“What a fabulous day!” Sylvia declared. “My dreams have come true. I felt like a princess; it was lovely.”

Anna Nathanson, design and communications assistant.

If you would like to find out more about how we support people with dementia, please click here. And please consider making a small donation to our dementia activity workshops appeal – we’ve almost reached our target!