Dementia care home in Newcastle helps grandmother join granddaughter's wedding celebrations

Liz Jobey is a resident at a specialist dementia home in Wallsend. Credit: Rusby Media

A grandmother who was unable to attend her granddaughter's wedding was still able to enjoy the occasion, as the wedding was brought to her.

Due to health concerns, 86-year-old Liz Jobey could not attend the wedding of her eldest grandchild Hannah at Brinkburn Priory.

Her family were concerned that she would physically struggle to travel to the occasion and find the experience stressful and confusing.

Instead, the family arranged with the specialist dementia home in Wallsend, where she is a resident, to visit and re-enact parts of the ceremony.

The family re-enacted parts of the ceremony so that 86-year-old Liz did not have to miss out. Credit: Rusby Media

Hannah, a primary school teacher from Low Fell, thanked care home provider Eothen for facilitating the event.

She said: “I always wanted my gran to be part of our wedding and doing it this way, she could be involved in a way that meant she felt at home but still in a special way. I really treasure the pictures and videos from the day with her. 

“I really wished she could have been there on the actual day and I wasn’t exactly sure how the day at Eothen would look, but in the end I was so pleased that we had chosen to do it this way.

"My gran was so relaxed and happy and that was so important to all of us. She kept holding my hand, not letting go, and looking at my dress!"

“We have those memories and pictures to look back on and know that we were able to include my gran in the celebrations in the best way for her and that was so important to all of us."

The ceremony itself took place in August, but the family had to wait five months to visit Liz and tell her the big news due to the preparations involved, and being able to get the family back together in one place.

Liz's eldest son Steve played a key part in organising the delayed wedding. He said: “In effect mam has been unable to get her into a car for the best part of two years, she is just not able to get in and gets very distressed, so the idea of being able to bring her up was always going to be a challenge.

“We concluded it wouldn’t be in her best interests. It was an incredibly hard decision to make. The day itself was a big day and Hannah in particular really wanted her there. So I spoke to the home manager Christine and asked if we could recreate it at Eothen, and her eyes lit up when I suggested it, and so that’s what we did.

“When Hannah came in my mum was absolutely thrilled to bits, it was like a light was switched on. It was lovely to see. When Hannah went across to her, mum grabbed her hand and said ‘you look absolutely beautiful’. It made me so happy we had done it as we had. That moment made us realise we had made the right decision."

Christine Henderson, who has worked for Eothen for 24 years, said “She absolutely knew who they were and why it was happening. She knew it was a wedding, and that her granddaughter was the bride. She had a very lucid moment where it was very real for her, she got quite emotional about it."

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