An invisible army: Mary and Norman Rigby

Mary and Norman first joined Broadstone Methodist Church 52 years ago. Over the years they have moved houses many times and they settled in Highcliffe for their retirement. However, they became grandparents! They moved back to Broadstone about 19 years ago to live closer to David, Isabel and 'baby' Katie and re-joined Broadstone Methodist Church. Norman was a Church Steward, and both have been very active in the Church. Sadly, about 5 years ago Norman became very confused whilst on holiday and had difficulty coping in different surroundings. He was subsequently diagnosed with dementia. Over the years his health deteriorated gradually, and Mary was Norman's sole Carer until he went into a Nursing home last year for just 3 weeks before succumbing to a chest infection.

Dementia affects people in many ways and Norman retained his great social skills. He liked meeting people and to chat with them. People didn't always realise just how confused he was. At home he would forget where he was and ask Mary, 'who are you' and 'where's Mary?' Mary was there for him all day and every day because he was always looking for her and needed her reassurance to feel safe and secure. She helped him to shower and to get dressed.  She watched over him in the night when he would get up and then become lost in the house. During the day he could no longer concentrate and was unable to enjoy watching the television.

However, he still enjoyed getting out and about and Mary took him out a lot to Church, to social events, and even shopping at Tesco's. There was a frantic time for Mary when Norman wandered off and became lost in the large Tesco car park and was missing for quite a while. When asked how you coped, Mary replied,

 ‘I just wanted to look after him.’

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