As I’ve written about previously, I’m a part-time carer for my Mum who has younger on-set dementia at 63. As well as daily caring life, I’m always trying to think of ways to keep her home bright and cheerful.
Mum’s absolute favourite colour is pink, in all shade variations. From her bright pink shoes to baby pink toaster, it’s what puts a smile on her face which should always be the aim, in my humble opinion.
When you’re caring for a family member who has dementia, all rhyme and reason go out of the window pretty quickly. The non-dementia version of my Mum probably wouldn’t be caught dead in some of the clothes she currently wears, but I’m not dealing with my Mum of the past, I’m dealing with my Mum of today. That’s such an important part of it all, acceptance and growth. As daughters, we’ve been required to get to know a new Mum who hates wearing her hair down, talks to strangers and who laughs at the most random of situations, for example, hanging up her coat. I said random and I meant it.
I recently gave her bedroom a massively overdue clearout but it did leave the room looking and feeling a tad empty. I wanted to curate some fun and pretty prints and photos for the walls when I stumbled across Created By Magic.
Created by Magic
Created by Magic are a small independent gift company based in Hampshire, UK. The majority of their products are personalised gifts, focusing on babies and families. I adore the Peter Rabbit designs and they also create personalised storybooks for kids.
The elephant family print caught my eye. As well as being hella cute, it also acts as a perfect reminder of our names for my Mum. As tragic as that sounds, it’s a potential reality we all fear as Mum’s illness progresses. We have plenty of photos downstairs in the living room, with all of our names labelled beneath our faces. It’s an excellent way to keep our faces and names as fresh in her memory as possible.
I have no idea if this is truly effective, we will never really know but it can’t hurt and it does serve as a conversation starter from time to time.
Mum spends so much time at her home, so it’s really important for me to make it as comfortable as possible. When I took on the role as her personal carer, that was one of my main goals. Her home had accumulated so much junk over the years, especially as her illness became worse.
When she was able to shop for herself, she’d buy duplicates of many items and hide them in various places.
When I sorted underneath the sink, I found about eight bottles of hand soap, ten kitchen cleaners and more sponges and scourers than I knew what to do with. She was collecting kitchen rolls like they were going out of fashion and so much cat food, you’d think she was due to open up a cat cafe.
I’ve slowly worked my way through the house and decorated with photos and flowers. It was important to get the living room sorted out first, as this is where she spends most of her time. I then moved onto the bedroom.
Bedroom Tidy Up
The bedroom tidy up was the day from hell as she had a wall stacked with books that collected dust and cluttered up the small amount of room she has. I also have lower back problems and I now hold all celebrities who’ve released an autobiography in hardback accountable for a week of muscle spasms. I’m sure if my sister is reading this she’ll give me an ear full about not lifting heavy shit, but hey, I’m impatient and when I get something in my head it must be executed.
I could barely find my bearings in Mum’s bedroom, so it must have been impossible for her to wrap her brain around. I’m a strong believer in creating space for someone with dementia to move around in. Clutter stresses me out and it makes it so much harder to find things.
Everything has its place but Mum makes it pretty difficult for me, and I’ll often find a brand new top shoved down the back of the sofa or socks on top of the microwave. But my theory is, if I always make the effort to put things back to where they need to be, it will keep clutter to a minimum and Mum can go wild while I’m not there.
Honestly, there’s so much to think about.
Photos and Memories
Photos are so important and can trigger memories and emotions that sometimes can’t be explained. Mum will often show me the exact same photo of her parents in her purse every day, as though its the first time. It makes her smile and if it feels like she’s discovered something new and beautiful every time she has a glance at it, I’m happy to play along.
Playing along is another aspect of dementia that’s important to accept.
Sometimes she gets it wrong, like calling my sister by the cat’s name but you’ve got to laugh it off. I’ll never forget the time she pointed at Alan Carr on Loose Women and said it was me. I had glasses on at the time, so I’m guessing that was the link. Well, I’m hoping that was the link. If it wasn’t, perhaps I resemble a man?
This beautiful image from Created by Magic is printed on a quality thick card, came packaged perfectly and was delivered quickly.
I was able to stipulate the family name and members, size, gender and if I wanted the elephant patterned. I chose to get my Mum patterned and the three of us plain with delicate head flowers. You can also choose from three different background colours, two sizes and two card finishes.
I didn’t show my Mum until it was hanging on her wall and she was over the moon with it. I quote, “Wow, that’s amazing. Aww, that’s so good, isn’t it? I’m going to cry in a minute. It’s got all of the Hilary’s and whatever.”
The second time we went upstairs she exclaimed, “I’m on there!” and I proceeded to tell her that her elephant has a specially patterned butt, to which she replied, “excuse me?!” to which I am still laughing.
I didn’t tell my sisters about it, they’re reading about it for the first time in this blog. Hope you like it sissys?
For £15 including free standard delivery its the perfect addition to your family home or a Christmas gift. I also adore the bear print you can find here.
You need to go check out Created By Magic and just for my lovely readers, you can get 15% off! Just enter the code LBUK15 in the promo box at checkout!
Created by Magic sent me my personalised print free of charge but I am not being sponsored, paid or commisioned for this post and I won’t make any money if you buy with my code. It’s just a lovely gesture from the company. Enjoy!