It's not all that often she's in a good mood, 
and when I find that she is, I don't want to be rude
and interrupt when she hums and sings the song
that never stays in her memory for long.
She sits on the bed, her hand placed on mine
as she sings a few words, perhaps just the first line
of a song she knew back when she was a girl
And I watch the wings of that memory unfurl.

But the moment passes, we need to get on,
it's only an hour and then I'll be gone
so I say "Up you get; we've got things to do"
and I pray that, this morning, we'll have a breakthrough.
Because, being honest, I'm not wanted there,
helping her shower or washing her hair. 
Up to her, those tasks would be left on the shelf
as she can't get on with those things by herself. 

In the bathroom she knows what we've gone in there for, 
her feet are stock-still on the cold tiled floor, 
and though her reluctance means a hold up, 
I'm her CAREGiver, and I won't give up. 
It's not at all easy, trying to persuade
a lady who, you know, just will not be swayed. 
But that's why I'm there; I'm there to help out,
even when her actions fill me with self-doubt. 

Next week, a good mood, she's humming again,
although most of the lyrics are lost in her brain. 
My client, disobliging, and often headstrong, 
I find so much calmer when she's singing that song. 
I need to encourage her personal care
and it isnt half tricky when she doesn't want me there!
It's my job to help her, to get the job done, 
and she's much more compliant when I join in and hum. 

When she refuses to wash, I'm left in the lurch
but I have an idea: it's a Google search.
And so I go further, trace the words of the song
so that when she forgets, I can join her, sing along. 
So the next week, at bath time, I aim to distract,
reassure with a smile, making eye contact, 
and we get on with our tasks, with a sing in the air;
a lovely moment for us both to share. 

With my clients that live with Alzheimer's disease, 
it's hard to get through, even if I say please, 
even if I appeal to their reason, there's not
much I can do with the facts they forgot.
When my lady is stressed, I hum out that tune,
we hum it together and sometimes quite soon
she's calm again, enough to hop in the shower
and her favourite song is like a super power.

Other times it's like I've broken the spell. 
I ask her to shower and she starts to yell
and I know that there isn't a magic trick
that will explain it to her in a way that will click. 
But I do my best; that's what CAREGiver's do,
they give it their all and they try to get through
even when the dementia means that someone you know
doesn't recognise you; you just go with the flow. 

You hold onto the song that you hope they'll remember, 
hope the tune will ignite a spark, a small ember
and bring then back to the present, to a place you can share,
that's at the heart of what it is to care. 

By Celia Jenkins