The self in dementia is not lost, and can be reached with care.
In the case of my grandmother, as her Alzheimer’s began to progress, she found herself increasingly agitated and wandering the corridors of the care home in which she now lived. Her agitation was palpable, as was her desire to go ‘home’. She recognised me, not as her granddaughter but as her daughter, and couldn’t understand why I was at her workplace. Acknowledging her background as a midwife, the nursing-home staff enlisted my grandmother’s help on the morning and afternoon tea rounds, creating a meaningful context for her to be in these unfamiliar surroundings and redirecting her agitation into a feeling of purpose.