An exploration of the UK unpaid carer's world

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Janet Hughes at the Gloucester Citizen has kindly produced a report:

Teresa and Alan Harrison are quite clearly still just as much in love as the day he spotted a young teacher across a school playing field and fell head over heels.

After 54 years of marriage they still look at each other lovingly when they speak, touch each other tenderly, hate being apart and enjoy day trips to the seaside together.

                                                       Listen later

Except Teresa, 80, has semantic dementia which makes it a struggle to find the right words, and Alan, a professor of social psychology, is her full-time carer.

"We are still at the gooey stage," laughed Alan as he makes sure his wife is comfortable in the wheelchair she needs because of a bone condition.

But Alan prefers to show his love in actions rather than words. He has customised his wife's wheelchair so it reminds her of their favourite Triumph Herald car and has put a sliding tray on the bonnet so she can eat and drink comfortable and independently when out and about.

He calls the contraption Terayza's Trusty Triumph  so people who speak to them pronounce his wife's name correctly rather than call her Theresa.

Both were born in Scotland and he plays a "A long way to Tipperary" on his bagpipes because reminiscence is important to dementia sufferers.

Every week the couple attend one of just two specialist dementia centres in the country in the Herefordshire market town of Leominster.

Now he is fighting to set up a chain of what he calls DIY Dementia Meeting Centres where couples can go together and meet families in the same situation, in and around Gloucestershire.

"Most people have to put their loved one in a day care centre but I want somewhere we can go together to enjoy some company and get involved in lots of activities" said Alan, from Ross-on-Wye.

"The centre we go to is very, very good but it's a long way away. Everybody should have one on their doorstep.

"But it's taken three years and £300,000 just to get two centres up and running. I want hundreds of them and I want them today.  I'm a today man not a tomorrow man."

Teresa and Alan were among hundreds of people who turned out on a memory walk in Gloucester yesterday to show dementia is no barrier to love.

Many of the 1,200 people taking part in the walk at Gloucester Quays had the names of loved ones pinned to their backs. Some simply said mum or nana or dad.

And despite the sunshine, samba and Zumba creating a jolly atmosphere, the spectre of this most cruel of diseases was never far away.


It was a windy day and the video blows like this:


Can you tell us why you played that song (Tipperary. Reminiscence is covered above) and why you are here?


This is about Dementia Meeting Centres  ((DMCs)) which have been going for more that ten years (in Holland but that was lost in the wind)  and there are 125 of them. The event today has been organised by the Alzheimer's Society which is behind the DMCs already in existence.

It's a three year project and over £300,000 has only produced two DMCs so far.  It's very important to get something locally which doesn't take over a year to produce.  If people locally can start their own DMCs, they will benefit society. . . (final words blown away)


Teresa said that "We go to a place called Leominster once a week and the people there are a lovely lot who talk and do all sorts of things.".


See and hear it here.     Tea Dance at Leominster Meeting Centre here   video

A lot of money spent and too little to show for it.  See 2 here.  

                                                       Teresa and a new friend cross the finishing line.

                                                                                They are joined by Alan

                                                                 RO55 = ROSS-on-Wye TDH = Teresa D Harrison

                                                          It's a real reg number - here  
                                                Terayza's terusty teraffic teriumph
                                                              Teresa's Triumph here

    The board on the back of the wheelchair. 

    It starts the ball rolling for your DIY DMC.

                             Kick it!

       Chuck one of these with new words, 

                around the initial team.


     DIY Dementia Meeting Centres 

             Stop us and  try one 


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