There are around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK yet it is expected to rise to over 1 million by 2025. On Monday 3rd April 2017, dementia patients at Kingston Hospital took part in their weekly circuit of their afternoon mishmash of a ‘Punch and Judy-sauna’. So, do you think it is your average tea with the oldies who are said to bore you to death? Well, think again! Whilst the tip of the iceberg revealed non-verbal and distressed people, with patience and more information, one typical afternoon transformed into an exciting fiesta.  

At first, the ladies were adamant on having their nails done, elegantly brushed with lush blues, nude pinks or even daring dark reds. Scented balms were also applied: a citrus vibe and even freshly cut grass took the crowd by storm. It was a splendour to behold. Indeed, you can never grow old! There was also a session of fun and games where we not only played the all-time favourite, bingo, but we also taught each other, step by step, other less complicated games. Surprisingly, it included cheat, spoons and snap for card games where even healthy young people tend to get muddled up in. Luckily, the men of the swinging sixties were not urged to initiate any gambling. And at long last, the afternoon was rounded up with some scrumptious marble cake and cauliflower-cheese pasta.

Exhausted with lots of smiles and laughter, Judith gave her view of the sessions that occurred in the ward: “Kingston Hospital has never seemed to fail me. With homely lounges such as that of the Day Room and the bright and colourful Activity Room built up just for us lot, which I have not seen in any other hospital, I must have summed up their grand efforts for you. Whilst a hospital can be distressing, they always try to lighten the atmosphere. I would also like to not only thank the staff but also the volunteers who are always on the lookout for us.” After having seen mentally confused patients mourn over their mistaken thoughts of lost family, it brings tears to my eyes acknowledging the fact that they lose their emotions over depressing incidences that have never really happened as a family member tends to visit everyday in some cases. So, it would be amazing if you freed up some spare time to listen to the adventurous and dignified lives that these patients have experienced and help them to continue seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. A smile is infectious whilst a tear threatens to rip all existence. You have the power to save lives, help your local community and help your local hospital to continue providing excellent treatment.

By Thuvaaraha Nagarajan, Nonsuch High School For Girls