Sunday, 26 October 2014

Dementia and Imagination - Update

The camera is set on a small wooden shelf against the short wall which divides the two spaces; static for just one minute, it records the movements of the people as they listen intently to the conversation emanating from the space to my right, which they look directly into.

He is alert, attentive to what is around him, looking around, noticing something, but I don't see what he sees.  

There are six people in the video image; a father with dementia who is sat on a chair, his left hand holds his stick in front of him, the right arm gently rests on top.  Close by him are sat four females; a researcher, an intervention artist, the gentleman's daughter and his grand daughter.  The sixth person sits nearer the camera, a lady who visits the care home regularly, continuing a pattern she established and followed daily for over two years, visiting her husband as he gradually followed his own dementia journey, through to his death earlier in the year.

Conversation begins.

His eyes lift as a voice tone changes, and then just as quick they begin to droop.

The voice in the other room is light, full of expression, vocally dancing in the auditory space to capture the participants imagination, to try to make and hold a connection, a listening ear, albeit fleeting.  "There is an owl", smiles, giggles and laughter are visible and audible from both rooms, "but it isn't an owl", the voice says.  

"Ah wonder what happened to me 'usband, 'e went away from my house and I don't think 'ave seen 'im  . . . I don't know whether he lived, or what.  You know." 

Silenced, listening; visible faces seem to tell of a quiet discomfort, intertwined with a familiarity at the news that has probably been heard so many times before. Time slows.

"Ahhh, dear".

In these moments the father's eyes have softly closed, his head slightly bowed, tilting groundwards and another relative, a gentleman, out of sight and sat behind the grand daughter begins to sing, slowly gently the rhythm of his tune drifts across the room.  

"There is water all over the place, and you see that water . . . all the same . . . "

The father continues to drift toward sleep, his head very gently resting on his chest, dipping imperceptibly lower, his body remaining still.

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