A mansion stands serenely in a leafy quiet street Oaken door so welcoming Spring garden so replete. Façade of cream and tinged with gold Old columns towering tall, Victorian architecture Behind a garden wall. "Welcome" shows the sign Nearby a list of rules As visitors step inside to cool tiled vestibules. Moving further down Ornate high ceilinged hall, Small sounds of aged confusion Upon most ears would fall. Suddenly a change The parlours now behind A green door out of place Beside a bamboo blind. Opening that door, the sounds and cries strike home, Assaulting senses into shock the sudden screams and moans. Mostly all are eighty plus Their minds no longer here Dementia reigns in their sweet souls Relief will not appear. Heads are lowered onto plates They do their best to eat. The staff are always kindly But little time, is hard to beat. The eyes that stare from faces withered Show minds don't comprehend Who is who, or what is what Each day the same descends. Sometimes one hears great protest A memory that's arisen From scattered thoughts inside the mind The cries of feared oblivion. On taking leave of such a place Sadness - is not the word. Sheer despair gives rise to prayer and that it may be heard. That these dear souls just fall asleep Go home to meet their Lord Protected, whole, forever more From dementia's vicious sword. ©Anne N. Byam 2008 Used With Permission All Rights Reserved By Author Website Mail

I dedicate the above poem to my mother who is 99 years of age and has dementia. She is in high care in a Nursing Home in Camberwell - a suburb of Melbourne.

I have described the nursing home as realistically as possible - it is a magnificent old Victorian mansion. Casual passers-by outside, could not know what lies behind the closed doors.