Deciding to help someone is a big thing and obviously if it's long term you have to promise to stick to it. A few months ago I started visiting a care home and reading a few pages of Sherlock Holmes stories to a elderly man with Alzheimers.
He has loved the Sherlock Holmes stories for years and in many ways it's the only thing he can remember. His family memories are few and far between and although they visit almost daily, he finds the time stressful and upsetting.
I only read for a little while, normally about 4 pages at any visit. Sometimes he shows me his army medals, his puzzle books and other times he doesn't say a word. The care home say sometimes he asked where I am which is nice to know.
Whilst I'm reading he might tell me "Coming up to a good part Sarah" and I smile as he's right. I'm a bit of Sherlock Holmes fan too so it's been nice to be able to share it with him and in my own little way help him.
If he is feeling particularly happy he will show me pictures of his family from a special album that has been put together and underneath each picture it says their name and what relation they are to him. Then he gets confused as he sees a familiar face in the album, "Sarah you're in here" and I look and say "Yes I'm your Grandson's girlfriend". For a minute he remembers and then he says "My Grandson is in the army, he doesn't have a girlfriend" and it's gone.
When I leave he often will just wave goodbye to me but sometimes he gives me the biggest hug in the world.
I do enjoy going to visit him even if it's upsetting. When Spurs boy goes and he sometimes will pick up a Sherlock Holmes book and his Grandad will say "No I've got Sarah that reads to me. You'll put her out of a job".
I guess it's all about finding a way to manage with these things. I'm not one to sit around and watch, I have to help in whatever way I can.