Moving home helped me to live well with dementia

Peter Harris in Lincolnshire, aged 56 with vascular dementia, tells us how finding the right place to live has transformed his life.

I felt completely isolated when I lived alone in Grimsby. The area wasn’t nice and there would often be people outside who dealt in, or used, drugs. 

I used to walk my dog at 6am in the morning to avoid them because sometimes they’d ask me for cash or if I had my bank cards on me.

It was awful. I never opened my curtains, and I didn’t feel it was safe for my grandson to visit me.

Peter Harris with Rocky

New life 

Emily Alderton, Dementia Support Worker at Alzheimer’s Society, helped me move to a supported flat in Cleethorpes. I had been trying to persuade the housing association to move me for quite some time but was getting nowhere. 

I feel so much safer and happier – it’s like being on holiday every day.

I’m now also much closer to family members and I can easily visit my late wife Shirley, who is buried here, which is really important to me. And my dog Rocky gets three walks a day.

The other day, Rocky’s lead got caught in a coping stone on a wall. People came out to help me, it was so nice. A guy even stopped his car to help. 

I have a new life and so does Rocky – we’re living a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget!

Ideas to help 

I worked in a fish factory as a salmon trimmer, and before that I worked on boats for the oil rigs. I gave that up because my wife was at home with three kids, and I wanted to be at home to support her. 

When I was diagnosed with dementia, the doctor said the best thing is to try to keep your brain active.

It’s my kids that have come up with ideas to help me. They got me an Alexa and put reminders on to take my pills. 

I think new technology is amazing. I’d certainly forget to take my tablets if it wasn’t for Alexa. She also reminds me to turn the oven off and I can even use her to switch my lights on and off… how lazy is that?! 

Not alone 

A Society volunteer calls me every week now. She’s very young! It’s nice because all my kids work full-time jobs, so through the week I don’t see people so much, but midweek I get a call.

It restores your faith in the young ones – she seems to have her head screwed on. It’s refreshing to hear them trying to make something for themselves. 

I was one of them where you don’t like to ask because you don’t like to bother people. There are amazing people out there who are willing to help. Don’t think you’re on your own – you don’t have to be! 

Dementia Connect support line

For personalised information and advice, call our Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456, or for Welsh speakers call 03300 947 400. 

Find out more

Dementia together magazine

Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
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Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
Subscribe now

2 comments

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Hi my mom of 88 years has dementia for the past three years. She was doing good but 6 weeks she got a seizure which threw her back. She is in resbite for the last month i do cry every day i leave her. She is sitting in the chair and my mom was so active they take her out walking with the simmer frame doing ok they help her eat. I want to take her home they tell me she is settled here now you mite not be able to manage i know i will cos mom is very determined to get walking again her seizure must have affected the brain but i think in time she will improve.

Many thanks to the care taker who helped you according to your wishes that showed the need base care plan implemented by the care provider congratulations to both of you you

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