Maisie Cats for Dementia
Living with Dementia
In January 2015 my mum died from a vicious and fast form of Dementia. It’s a really horrible disease. Over three painful years I watched it take away an intelligent, fun, energetic, fit, beautiful and creative person.
When people think of Dementia they often think just of people becoming forgetful and for some people that might be the only symptom but for people like mum there were a whole host of symptoms. The disease went through lots of stages. It started with confused memories and losing the words for things and then she gave away all her belongings, clothes, shoes everything. She also gradually lost all her skills although she could knit a bit almost until the end.
As it progressed mum developed all kinds of distressed behaviours and lost her whole sense of herself. When she was still aware of us she would cry on the phone and say she was scared of dying, she would read out leaflets on the phone word by word, tear apart her clothes, walk in a circle endlessly and make piles and piles of objects. She would eat a whole block of cheese, cut apart her jumpers. She was very frightened, restless, bored, confused and exhausted.
My dad was a really wonderful carer for her but he could not stop her suffering. The only things we found to help were music and a bit of fun and laughter. Mum loved to dance and sing songs.
At the end she could not speak and was gaunt and exhausted. She couldn’t dress herself or remember to eat. In the end she was bed ridden and we sat with her as she died, singing to her, stroking her hair, reading her poems. She did not know us and I could not believe this was my mum.
Some months before mum died I decided to do something to recover a part of her that was very important – her creativity. She had always made everything, wonderful baking, clothes, home furnishings, pottery and painting and she passed these skills on to us .
When we were children she made toys and one of the patterns she designed was a cat. She raised lots of money for charity with the things she made. I still have one of those cats and I call it Maisie after my mum. I have updated the pattern a bit and we have made crochet sewing and knitted versions. So far we have raised nearly £1,000 and want to use Maisie cats to raise awareness of Dementia and raise money for nice treats for people with Dementia. Eventually we will have a little grant form.
Maisie cats for Dementia project – how it works
How you can help
- Make some Maise cats They can be knitted, crocheted or sewn, made from recycled or new fabric and have plaited wool tails and embroidered faces. You can hand them back to us or sell them yourself and then give us a donation. The cats will be sold for £10 There are a series of patterns we have designed available
- Have a stall at a market or sell some of the cats in your shop or to your friends
- Buy some cats from us
- Join our group called Maisie Cats for Dementia on facebook – the pattern can be downloaded from the group and you can post pics of the cats you make
- Give us a free stall to sell the cats at a market you are running