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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Watch your body language!

Updated: May 20, 2021

When Robin Thomson's wife Shoko was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2012 he says, 'we had very little idea of what lay ahead, or how to respond. Later, as the disease took hold, we learned the hard way. Shoko’s personality changed, and she lost her capacity in many areas. Despite this, her affection remained constant. She died of heart failure in 2018.'

In this week's Church Times (19 May 2021) he suggests practical ways in which churches and individuals can support those suffering from dementia, and their care-givers.

The most valuable thing you can do

Thomson says he learned 'rather late in the day – that the most valuable thing was the way I related to Shoko. "Your body language is more important than what you say," our daughter told me many times, long before I understood it myself.

'It was true. If the tone of my voice was impatient, or if I hustled Shoko to sit down, or get up, or go out, she found it distressing: "Why are you so cross with me?" If I spoke softly, or held out an encouraging hand, the rewarding smile warmed me more than I deserved.

'Dementia can be fearsome and mysterious. But we learn not to be afraid. The persons affected are still persons, and we go on relating with love and attention.'

Read the full article.

Robin Thomson is the author of Living with Alzheimer’s: A love story, published by Instant Apostle at £8.99 (Church Times Bookshop £8.09).


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