This month, we had a family wedding, which had taken us many months of preparation and been surrounded by all the uncertainties that the pandemic has brought with it. It was, in the end, a fabulous event – but afterwards we were totally exhausted. The following, day I found myself taking a washload of three towels (why a load of just three towels?) out of the machine, then off I went into the garden to hang them out – with two pegs!

For some time, I stood there, looking from one hand to the other and completely unable to decide how to proceed. Eventually, I hung up one towel, then continued to stand beside the line as I contemplated what to do with the other two towels. At that moment, I knew that many friends living with dementia would tell me that this is the sort of thing that they experience on a daily basis. After a night’s sleep, I was completely back to my usual self, but it made me think.

How do I know that that was a situation a lot of people living with dementia would recognise? The answer: because so many people living with dementia are generous enough to share their experiences with others, so that more people can understand about dementia. For many years now, I’ve heard them speak at conferences; I’ve spoken at length with them face-to-face; I’ve read articles in which people describe the situations they’re dealing with – and online facilities such as Twitter offer further insights on a daily basis.

I’d urge anyone – but especially anyone who works with people who may be living with dementia – to absorb as much insight offered by people living with dementia as they can. These are the absolute experts; they share their experiences so that others might better understand and be motivated to learn how best to support them. We all owe them a huge debt of gratitude for helping to educate us, in turn improving the lives of people living with dementia now and those who will do so in the future.