Last week I was asked to attend Hull University as it was the very first graduation for the Masters in Dementia students at Hull. These students have both my books on their reading list and they’re both mandatory. It’s been an online course so students have been from not only all over the country, but all over the world as well.
Emma wasn’t picking me up until 08.45, so time for a little early walk first. It was suppose to have got cooler after the extreme temperatures of the previous days, but as I walked outside it still felt very warm even though it was early.
I decided to do a figure of eight walk today, just to increase my little trundle a tad. Round to the back field where the sun was shining through the haze of morning cloud
Through the gate and down towards the pond, where many of the ducks were on the grass gathering patiently for breakfast…..
…..the odd one choosing to bide his time in the coolness of the water instead..
No sign of Terence and Teresa yet as I headed out and up through the houses…cutting through the snicket where a fledgling Robin sat on the fence
It was very quiet everywhere, not as many people about as on the previous meltingly hot days. The giant triffid of thistles now in flower
A barn owl flew by me having come from the church yard and heading for the barn in the stables. It was so low I could see it’s beautiful round face staring at me but it was too quick to catch a piccie and had disappeared before I could lift it up, so I simply stood and stared in wonder….
Down by the churchyard and towards the main road, then turning right instead of left towards home as I was heading back to the pond. Steve had been out and fed the ducks and the Pochards were busy skimming the surface for afters..
One of the ducklings nearby looked as if it was mimicking their style 😂
The sun was casting a golden light on our lovely little pond…
Back around the pond retracing my steps; the ducks now preening and beginning to settle for their post breakfast snooze…
As I reached the back field and almost home, I could see a woman and her two dogs heading towards me; the only person I’d seen on my trundle. As I tried to concentrate on her face to see if I knew her, I caught a white flash out of the corner of my eye….another barn owl hunting for breakfast at the edge of the field. I stood stock still dropping my stick to the ground and tried desperately to zoom in and catch it in flight. I managed it but no super clear, but clear enough for me…
As the woman reached me, it became apparent she’d seen it too and had stood and watched it….
“What an early morning treat that was!” She beamed at me before heading on her way…..a lovely way to end my trundle…..
Emma was right on time. We chatted about the success of the course, how It’s the only online masters course that has a dying with dementia module ⭐️….how the students have come from so many professions, Gp, social work, hospice care and a huge variety of others. It must be so nice for the students to be able to talk to other professions as they’d rarely get a chance in their busy work life.
Sadly the heatwave along with huge problems on the trains, meant that many, many students couldn’t travel to the celebration. One had travelled all the way from America for her graduation. The graduation itself had been last Monday so they all melted in their cap and gowns, but I imagine it was a happy meltdown…the following two days had been celebration days and this is where I entered the room.
They just arrived and were busy catching up with their new found face to face friends now
One woman was a speech and language therapist and she’d brought her adorable guide dog, Heidi, along with her
I sat on one of the tables to have a drink and a chat . Their enthusiasm and new found knowledge was emanating from each and every one of them. Some had started the course with little or no knowledge of dementia and now here they were having graduated 🙌
The time came for me to give my talk….I’d written half an hours worth. Emma had said how they often hear students saying they feel overwhelmed- there are so many things that need changing to improve care, how can one person make a difference? ….so I ended my talk by offering 3 suggestions. Three pleas from me to them as they now enter their work place with their extra qualification…and explained each one as I did
Don’t make assumptions simply because we have dementia
Think carefully about the language you use to anyone
Live in our world as we can’t live in yours.
I ended by saying:
“Throughout your lives there will all be situations or people who want to bring you down. But when they do, just think back to this day and how proud you felt at what you’ve achieved, think of all the smiles around you. When life gets tough never give up on yourselves – they’ll be plenty of others who’ll do that for you. Even when something bad happens in your life, you just have to look at life in a different way. You hopefully learn from it, turn the negatives into positives just as I try to do. After all who would have thought students would be having to read my 2 Sunday Times best sellers as part of your course to get here today. And you never know, one day I may need help from you in your professional roles or need to be in your care, I’ll be relying on you to get it right….”