Dignity in Dementia

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What Do You See Now?

What do you see now, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you look at me?
A confused old person, not very wise,
Irritatingly slow with far away eyes.
When you mutter quite loudly “oh for heaven’s sake
Get a move on, please, give me a break.”
You’re frustrated, embarrassed and don’t have the time
To deal with folk who aren’t in their prime.
A muddled old woman, a distressed old man,
They were definitely never part of your longer-term plan.
Pains in your neck and thorns in your side,
If only there was place where you could hide.

But please stay and help me, don’t leave me this way
I need your support to get through this day.
I set out with a purpose, something tangible in mind,
Which with patience and kindness you can still help me find.
It wasn’t so long ago that I was just like you,
In a hurry to achieve things, and intolerant too.
But with the blink of an eye the years have sped past,
And my youthful vitality it just didn’t last.
So now I am frail, bad tempered, afraid,
And the feelings I once had are utterly betrayed.
Given my time again, I’d be so much more caring,
And those unpleasant thoughts, they’d definitely be sparing.

So what do you see now, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you look at me?
A confused old person, not very wise,
Irritatingly slow with far away eyes.
Or do you now think of the future with care?
Where people will understand you and be aware.
Of your need to feel supported, safe and respected,
Where smiles are abundant and life’s what’s expected.
Where health, warmth and compassion are willingly bestowed,
And moments of forgetfulness don’t come with forbode.
So what do you see now, what do you see?
A chance for tenderness and to help baffled old me.

Adapted from the poem ‘Crabbit Old Woman’ by Phylis McCormack by Dignity in Dementia

www.dignityindementia.org