Gosh, what a week of sadness and pomp and ceremony! I have certainly been moved by what I have seen in ways I hadn’t expected and have been strangely drawn to all the coverage on the TV. It got me wondering about how my Mum would have coped with this and more importantly how would my Dad, as my Mum’s full time carer be feeling!

My Mum’s Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer’s made her very aware of my Dad’s mood, anxious about how other people may be communicating with her and watching the news before bed sometimes gave her nightmares. Mum, also Elizabeth, was an ardent fan of the Queen and would have been devastated about her death. At the age of 17 she and her friend won a paid trip to go to London to watch the coronation. She was in the crowd opposite the entrance of Westminster Cathedral the first time the Queen appeared in public after the coronation. She also worked at Balmoral as a student, cleaning the dishes for the people who cleaned the dishes for the Queen!

So, what would I be suggesting to my Dad to make my Mum less anxious and upset by the death of the Queen and her upcoming funeral on Monday.

1. Don’t pretend nothing has happened, take your time and explain what’s happened and highlight all the wonderful things the Queen achieved in her 96 years. Maybe find on Youtube the wonderful sketch with Paddington Bear or her entrance at the London Olympics in 2012.
2. Ask them what they remember about the Queen and Prince Philip.
3. Be patient if you need to explain her death quite a few times and what’s happening.
4. Celebrate the new King and chat about what they remember about him and how people think he will reign the country.
5. Try and moderate the amount of television you watch about the Queen and her family, seeing lots of people in black and looking very serious or upset can be distressing for somebody living with Dementia.
6. Plan some specific fun activities with family and friends on the day of the funeral, after all it’s a bank holiday. Of course it’s a sad time, but it’s also about celebrating her wonderful life and yours.
7. Look up some of their favourite happy music and play it for them, you shouldn’t underestimate the impact sad and depressing music can have on somebody living with Dementia. Plus it’s not just on the TV, but in many supermarkets and shops the cheery background music has suddenly become very morose and certainly made me feel really sad.
8. If it brings back memories about a loved one who died, of course you should recognize their sadness, but also help them think about happy and fun things they did with that person.
9. Suggest planning something fun for you both to do in the future to live in the moment and celebrate life.
10. Most importantly reassure them that there is nothing to worry about and that they are loved and secure in their home and in their family.

Rest in peace your Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II and long live King Charles III

I hope some of my suggestions help and that you are all able to celebrate her life and the focus on what life has to offer in the here and the now xx

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