Our Worcestershire based advocate, Helen Fowler, gives her tips and advice on maintaining positivity during isolation

May 13, 2020

I’ve always seen myself as being a philosophical person, which I count as a really good thing in these times as it gives you some much-valued perspective. Of course, I knew as soon as the measures were announced that I couldn’t object to them but I do my best whatever the circumstances, and I hope these thoughts are of some support and value to people.

Even though I’m on my own after my dear husband, Tony, passed with dementia, I still find time to keep myself occupied. There’s no such thing as boredom for me and I always try and check in with people in the local community who I know are struggling (via telephone, of course!)

Michele Poole and Helen Fowler at the Mad Hatter tea party

There is one lady with dementia who I just want to be there for. I enjoy talking to her greatly and I hope I give her the opportunity to have a bit of a breather during what must be a really challenging time for her.

I understand the strains that dementia can place on any relationship, now more than ever, which is why I think it’s so beneficial to take a step back, go to a place in the house where you can be quiet for a moment. Whether it’s a study, a bedroom or a garden, allow yourself time to let any feelings of anger or frustration wash over you. People are going through so much right now, we need to remind ourselves of that and our frustrations are not the only frustrations.

When Tony and I were in the house, we still found time to keep ourselves occupied and enjoy our time together, despite the challenges. Crosswords, old photographs where we could talk about some of our favourite memories, playing Louis Armstrong, who Tony was a massive fan of, and also sitting back and looking at what we had achieved in the garden for the day.

For me, the garden is my sanctuary now as it always has been, particularly when Tony’s behaviour got really difficult. It’s very easy to forget what we have at the moment but the garden is a place where I can marvel at all the beauties of nature. Saying and seeing for myself that the sky is still blue and the birds are still singing is proof that we can still find joy in the small things.

One last tip for anyone who is going through the isolation measures right now is to try to achieve small goals each day – a task in the house or garden, a letter, or perhaps a phone call to someone who you haven’t spoken to in a while. If you have a list of “to dos” you have the satisfaction of ticking these off as well! Which reminds me, I’ve got some seeds to plant in the garden…

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