I looked after my mother for six years after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014. Previously I had looked after my uncle who had vascular dementia. The first year of looking after my mother was extremely difficult as there was very little support for me as her main carer. I started introducing crafting activities to support her wellbeing but also for my own emotional and physical wellbeing. My lived experience of caring for my mother and using craft as an essential component of daily dementia care, led me to start a PhD in psychology. My research is a qualitative study investigating the lived experience of crafting together and relational aspects of crafting within the context of home-based dementia care. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; a member of the Critical Dementia Network, the Stitching Together network and the Dementia, Narrative and Culture Network; and I am co-director of the Lived Experience Network.
In 2019 I attended DCC’s three-day course; it was life-changing for me. It equipped me with strategies and expert knowledge from the DCC team and other carers on the course that became invaluable for me to better care for my mother. I became a DCC Ambassador, and now proudly draw on my ‘expertise by experience’ to contribute to DCC’s Carers Advisory Panel.