Day 1 of isolation with Dementia.

She has had two cups of tea and a bowl of cornflakes and says it’s still very important that she puts her face on every morning, even if we aren’t going out. Whilst describing the rations in WW2, I think past trauma may have been triggered surrounding her childhood spent in evacuation.
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Day 2 of isolation with Dementia.

She has fixated on rations and the fear of having to prove her identity. We had Danish pastries and milky tea.
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Day 3 of isolation with Dementia.

She has spent an hour putting her face on, telling me about her youth as a model and dancer. Most of her twenties spent posing for artists who liked her hands and feet. I invited her to be photographed in my studio with complete artistic freedom.
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Day 4 of isolation with Dementia.

We had roast lamb and watched Beaches. She fell asleep and woke up not knowing where she was or who I am. When I explained what was happening she became very suspicious and kept looking for her car keys. She hasn’t been allowed to drive for two years.
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Day 5 of isolation with Dementia.
It was warm and sunny outside and I made us coffee with ginger snap biscuits. She wasn’t sure what was happening today and has been unaware of the time. However, the sunshine made her smile whilst she pruned my roses and felt fulfilled.
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Day 6 of isolation with Dementia.

We waited until late afternoon and walked along the vacant beach front. She misses her garden so we picked up some plants and compost to plant in mine. Our local shops have been a god send. Delivering everything we need with no contact.
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Day 7 of isolation with Dementia.

I asked for help on what the garden needed and she showed me how she shapes shrubs. We had digestive biscuits in the sun with a pot of tea.
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Day 8 of isolation with Dementia.
Today has no words.
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Day 9 of isolation with Dementia.
As I was in my studio, she watered the garden and potted some small plants from the green grocers. You can’t have boundaries with dementia, it’s like somebody is constantly changing the channel. If you’re lucky, you get the main one but most of the time it’s white noise.
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Day 10 of isolation with Dementia.

After two hours spent putting her face on, she cried most of it off watching the news. We spent the afternoon watching old films and sitting by the fire. Ignorance is bliss.
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Day 11 of isolation with Dementia.

Up at 6am but in her dressing gown until 12.30. We watched The Crown for most of the day. Anything to do with The Royals is always a hit.
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Day 12  of isolation with Dementia.

We have experienced our first loss due to the impact of this awful virus. Dementia now seems kind.
Comprehension of the severity of the situation ever flailing, the past two days were spent outside. Gypsy Kings playing whilst reading magazines and showing me she can still dance. Is this real life? I wish I could join her wherever her mind has wondered.
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Day 13 of isolation with Dementia.

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Day 14 of isolation with Dementia.

Her friends called for a chat from California after we looked through old photos of her in Canada. It’s amazing how the past really triggers her mind to be more lucid.
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Day 15 of isolation with Dementia.

After a confused start to the day worried about being late for an appointment.. I washed and blow dried her hair. Human contact is so important, we all feed from each other’s energies.
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Day 16 of isolation with Dementia.

With a slow start to the day, we got dressed later than normal. With no routine comes confusion and worry.
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Day 17 of isolation with Dementia.

We set up a radio in the back shed and put on some Desert Island Discs. She enjoyed reminiscing on times spent living in Canada whilst watering the garden.
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Day 18 of isolation with Dementia.

After a disorientated morning, I painted the walls in my studio and she pruned the roses. We then enjoyed some toast in the sunshine.
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Day 19 of isolation with Dementia.

The feel of running water makes her flinch (a side effect of Dementia) so showers take a while. She was quite paranoid today, conspiracy theories rife.
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Day 20 of isolation with Dementia.

Still in bed at 9am, I put her little telly on and she watched it in bed. Very out of character, she’s not been sleeping if we put the news on in the evenings.
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Day 21 of isolation with Dementia.

We had to go and get supplies which took hours and meant she was on her own. She has started to miss her network, unable to remember how to use the phone. People are very lax here and don’t listen to social distancing regulations. It’s becoming increasingly dangerous to go out.
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Day 22 of isolation with Dementia.

The early day was spent mainly quite cross about nothing in particular. We had tea and cake in the afternoon sun, morale wavering. Desert Island Discs the only solace.
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Day 23 of isolation with Dementia.

Mornings are becoming later starts as she is sleeping better. If I go into the kitchen she will follow me, thinking I’m going out.
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Day 24 of isolation with Dementia.

If I don’t have the heating on at 27C, she puts her coat on and says she’s cold. I shudder at the thought of the gas bill. As I walk around feeling like I’m in a Turkish sauna, I’m asked to light the fire. Then it was too hot and she had to put her sunglasses on to reflect the heat away.
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Day 25 of isolation with Dementia.

Isolation simulates a sense of grief. We have been sad today. Missing the people we love, missing the people we’ve lost.
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Day 26 of isolation with Dementia.

My dogs are a happy distraction to worrying times and triggers. Today we sorted through boxes that have been avoided for a long time. Healing is happening, we are pausing and we are processing.
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Day 27 of isolation with Dementia.

There is no bad mood a magnum can’t fix.
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Day 28 of isolation with Dementia.
After a long day working, I came downstairs to an offering of tea. For somebody who isn’t sure how to make it anymore, this small act made my day.

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Day 29 of isolation with Dementia.
Feeling rather stir crazy from being kept home for over a week, we waited till late morning and went for a walk along the promenade. With nobody around, we stopped to watch the waves. It’s hard to explain to somebody who forgets about the virus and doesn’t understand.

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Day 30 of isolation with Dementia.

I recorded some of her stories about being evacuated in WW2. She had steak and chips for dinner, finished off with a Crunchie. I could sleep for a week.
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Day 31 of isolation with Dementia.

A slow start, starting to seem a little cross I asked what she would like to do today.. I’ve just finished shortening 5 pairs of her trousers. More fool me for asking!
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Day 32 of isolation with Dementia.

We were in the salon full wash and blow dry treatment. Only to find out when we went out to get groceries, she’d found scissors and decided to cut her own hair.
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Day 33 of isolation with Dementia.

Crying for no reason, getting very angry and paranoid. Today was hard. Tomorrow will be better.
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Day 34 of isolation with Dementia.

A confused day started off with wandering down the garden first thing. She thought mum was locked in the shed.
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Day 35 of isolation with Dementia.

The day always starts off with a long list of items she can’t find. Usually, they’re always hidden under her bed.. We watched her favourite film - Out Of Africa. She cried the whole way through.
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Day 36 of isolation with Dementia.

After a chat with a friend, she brightened up and became a lot more lucid. We had Kit Kat’s and milky tea whilst recording The Golden Girls.
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Day 37 of isolation with Dementia.

I’m compiling some photos of my Grandmother throughout her life. Sunday will mark 40 days in lockdown. We had a cooked breakfast for lunch. Her favourite.
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Day 38 of isolation with Dementia.

A decision was made in the early hours to get the bus home/to the drs. (That would require 3 buses). With no symptoms in particular, she settled for a trip in mums car to see the nurse. The conspiracy continues I’m sure when they return.
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Day 39 of isolation with Dementia.

Worried, upset, suspicious. Seeing things that aren’t there. Hearing discussions only happening in her mind. It’s been a day.
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Day 40 of isolation with Dementia.

For now, I feel this series has completed what it naturally intended. She has enlightened my sense of wonder into womanhood. I have grown up around different approaches to the male gaze and how to navigate it. The mind is a powerful tool and mine has inherited determination, independence and a hunger to be genuinely and openly myself without apologies.
As time wonders on as will her mind, this time will never be forgotten.
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