Any healthcare approach is only as effective as the people who deliver it. Even after all these years, I still find myself being taken aback by the dedication of the teams and individuals who take the Butterfly Scheme firmly to their hearts and inspire others with their own passion.

This month and next, I’m featuring in the News section the creations of two Butterfly Scheme Champions who – totally unprompted – decided to use their artistic talents to pay tribute to the scheme and help spread the word about dementia care to others. The poem below was written a while ago by a reception clerk – and Butterfly Scheme Champion – at Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board, Gerald Lane. Gerald talks about the Butterfly symbol itself – chosen by people with dementia to represent their request for the scheme’s care – and places the reader in the position of the individual needing our support. What I love is that he emphasises that this is an intelligent, talented, history-rich person who simply needs us to recognise the potential benefits of amending our care approach. Here it is:


In Recognition of the Butterfly Scheme

The Butterfly Memory

I’m forgetful, comes to us all in the end.
The memories flicker, like a butterfly’s wings, fluttering in the wind.
Sometimes I go blank, a thought becomes a mere flicker, like the wings of that creature.
I forget the name of it, ah yes, a butterfly.
I’m forgetful you see. 

There are people who help me, friends and family, and nursing staff too.
I get mixed up, confused, it’s hard to remember anything at times.
There are things that help, reminiscing, old pictures, music, talking to people.
I’m not an idiot, not lost all my marbles, I just need a little help, some guidance.
I have a history, a past that could be interesting to some, it helps to talk, and remember the past, the thoughts and memories that are meant to last.

A butterfly, see?  I remembered. Their wings flutter, beautiful colours, they remind me of times gone by. We used to chase and catch them as children. Now we know just how fragile they are.  Delicate, like our memories, something we should treasure, look after and protect. My memory flitters,
I need your protection, your guidance and your acknowledgement of my condition.

A Butterfly can remind staff about Dementia, memories flitter like the wings of a butterfly, both are delicate, and acknowledgement helps protect and aid those of us who need that little extra help. You can’t leave it to the patient.

I’m forgetful you see.


I’d like to pay tribute to Gerald and to all those fabulous healthcare staff out there who do far, far more than we ever asked them to, simply because they understand that their dedication makes a world of difference to people living with dementia.