Case study from a professional – ‘Living well with dementia’

Cliff was born in Suffolk and describes a happy childhood. Throughout his adult life he worked as a road builder. He is married to Susan with four children, who are now all grown up with lots of grandchildren. They all remain a very close family. Cliff’s journey with dementia started some six years ago when he was diagnosed with probable Frontotemporal dementia. He had just retired and became very depressed, taking to his bed for six months.

Cliff was encouraged and referred to a NHS day centre where he joined a choir, memory adjustment group, Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) group and redesigned a garden. His depression lifted and he began to feel purposeful and regain his self-esteem. At this point he started to join dementia workshops to tell his story, which had a major impact on professional carers. Cliff then went on to present at a local conference, telling his story in front of 300 people. He also presented his garden project at the national dementia congress.

His journey with dementia has had its ups and downs but on the positive side Cliff’s life has changed - he has confidence and new skills. He continues to tell others his story to aid them to learn, and he fills each day with either working on a farm or his garden. The highlight of his week is a pub lunch with one of his sons.