The Lady and the Jigsaw Puzzle.

Beryl first came to see me in the salon several years ago. She was a little unsettled as her husband had recently passed away and she was having difficulty adjusting to her new surroundings in the dementia home.

In the early days she would often arrive feeling anxious and concerned about how long the appointment would take. However, over time she began to relax and slowly but surely started to enjoy her weekly pamper sessions.

I booked Beryl in every Tuesday for her hair appointment, and it soon became apparent that this was one of her favourite activities of the week. Her face lit up when she saw me waiting in the salon for her. Gradually the friendship and trust between us grew. I loved hearing the stories of her life in service as a wren and of her family history.

There were times when her anxiety would creep back in, this would usually happen during a lengthy colour treatment. I soon realised that this could be overcome with magazines featuring the Royal Family as Beryl’s father had been a Silversmith to the Queen and the memories were still vivid to her. I also found that Beryl would enjoy sitting under the dryer with a cup of tea and a Jigsaw Puzzle, this instantly gave her something to focus and concentrate on, making her more settled whilst waiting for her hair to set.

Now one of highlights of Beryl’s week is her visit to the salon.

Beryl is a great example that someone living with dementia can still brighten a room with her enthusiasm and cheerful zest for life. It’s important to Beryl that she maintains her appearance, and she will often comment “ahh you have made me feel like me again” The hour or so she spends in the salon lifts her spirits and gives her a boost. The familiarity of past trips to the salon are often associated with pleasurable memories giving a feeling of wellbeing and a sense of normality. Life with dementia can still be enjoyable, life goes on and it’s important we find new ways to make the experience a positive one.