Sue Gregory cares for her husband John who has dementia. She’s also become one of Unforgettable’s new ‘expert by experience’ product reviewers. Here, she talks about her new life and gives her thoughts on some of our best-selling products
In July 2018, aged 55, it was necessary for me to become a full-time carer for my husband John who has Alzheimer’s. Prior to that, I spent the majority of my career working as a PA to Manging Directors and Chief Executive Officers, my most recent job was as Administration Manager of a residential and nursing home.
I miss going out to work sometimes, but I consider my job as a carer to be just as important as my job as a mother. Our children are now in their early 20s. One lives at home and the other in Vancouver. Both are wonderful and amazingly supportive, and we are very proud of them.
I now spend most of my days taking my husband to dementia events including Singing for the Brain and dementia specific activity sessions. Life is very different, and it can be hard, but there is also a lot of joy to be found in the wonderful people that we are meeting along the way.
Generally, we try to get the most out of every day. We also try to give back when we can; whether by helping with research or by testing new products for Unforgettable!
Here’s my honest feedback about the products I have been sent.
1. The Unforgettable Music Player & Digital Radio – “I can immediately see a positive change in my husband when we use this”
I was somewhat apprehensive about setting this up as I’m not particularly confident with modern technology. I need not have worried however, the instructions are very user friendly, with larger than average print and in colour too.
A choice of radio stations automatically come on to the screen for easy selection. The sound quality is excellent. It looks stylish too with a sort of retro feel. Putting our chosen music on to the memory stick was also well explained and easy to do. Being able to create a personalised list of my husband’s favourite artists on one memory stick, is a great idea. I can immediately see a positive change in him when one of his favourite tracks is played.
The radio can be set to come on as an alarm, which is an added bonus and the fact that the selection buttons can be hidden is a fantastic idea – it stops meddling fingers accidentally losing their favourite channel.
My verdict A great item for those with dementia – I would gladly have it on show even if I wasn’t a carer!
2. Your Unforgettable Life Story – “We are both thoroughly enjoying reminiscing”
I’ve been meaning to do this for a couple of years, but I didn’t know where to start so kept putting it off. But this is a fabulous quality book which looks good enough to be permanently on display and it’s inspired me to get going. It gives prompts, tips and inspiration through cards and written text. There are slots ready for photos and cards to go into and irrelevant sections can be removed so that we can totally personalise it.
I am adding my own information, as well as my husband’s, so that our children have a readymade history book of their parents’ life (should they be interested!!!) and we are thoroughly enjoying reminiscing too whilst putting our book together.
3. Feel Calm Today – “It made me feel that I’m not alone”
This little book has surpassed all my expectations. It is the best book of inspirations and quotations that I’ve come across (and I’ve bought a fair few in my time!). It can be read from cover to cover, which I what I did initially as I couldn’t put it down! or opened at random pages when time is short. Some made me laugh, some made smile, some gave me comfort, and some made me feel that I’m not alone – and that I’m actually doing ok.
4. Unforgettable 2-in-1 Calendar & Day Clock – “These clocks help enormously”
We have two of these clocks now as they help my husband enormously and prevent the constant repetition of asking the day or time. We keep one clock downstairs and have a new one in the bedroom too. We turn the bedroom clock around at night to face the wall. This means that the clock face doesn’t prevent him from sleeping, but it gives off enough light to enable him to get to the loo and back safely in the middle of the night, without having to turn on a bright lamp. We have also set a morning alarm on it, in the hope that it prevents him from getting dressed in the middle of the night – so far so good!
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Do YOU care for someone with dementia? If so, would you like to become one of our regular reviewers? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why.