Documentary following Tom Sivyer after he was diagnosed with vascular dementia, filmed by his grandson Dominic and showing the impact of the disease on the family.
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This programme contains some strong language.
-Are you filming me?
-I told you I was.
Well, why didn't you tell me, so that I can look my best?
Right, this is Dominic, my grandson,
and he's starting his new school tomorrow, aren't you, Dominic?
My relationship with my grandparents has always been unusually close.
When my parents separated and my dad disappeared, my granddad stepped in.
He filled the gap that my dad left behind and we became inseparable.
-You're a good boy. I love you a lot.
-I love you, too.
Throughout my childhood,
Nan and Granddad were there for each other, for better or worse.
Not a wrinkle in sight.
I think you look very nice for your interview.
It won't make any difference.
But everything changed three years ago, when a brain scan revealed that
Granddad was suffering from dementia, and that's when I started filming.
Are you ready?
'I wanted to capture the strange turn his life was about to make.'
Do you mind if I go under?
'And maybe I was trying to hold on to him before he disappeared.'
Why did we come to this hotel, then? Did they direct us here?
You're not in a hotel, you're in a hospital.
As time went on,
I began to worry if Nan and Granddad's love was strong enough to
withstand his illness...
That's bullshit, mate. Why are you so anti-me?
This is my life here!
..and if I could bear to watch them fall apart.
-I meant... Are we filming now?
-No? Are we?
What I'm going to do, Granddad,
is I'm going to ask you a series of questions...
-..and I want you to answer honestly.
-You might be sensitive with some of the questions.
-OK, fine. Try it.
Has anybody ever mentioned the word "dementia" to you?
-Do you accept that you've got dementia?
No, I don't.
-What would be the point?
-Well, you have got dementia.
Well, I don't think I have.
Do you not think if loads and loads of people have said that you've got
-I don't care.
Who are these loads of people that say it?
No. I deny it, and always will do.
This is Highberries, my grandparents' house.
Ever since I was very young, I spent a lot of time here,
being looked after by Nan and Granddad while my mum was at work.
Get out of it! You're putting it on me, you! Get out!
But now Granddad was here on his own and I was looking after him.
-What are you doing?
-Well, I was just seeing if I could unlock that,
cos I can't find the key.
The keys have been taken.
-The keys have been taken from you.
-Who's got those, then?
-The DVLA have took your car keys.
No, I'm not talking about car keys.
-I've got car keys.
-Well, you shouldn't have those.
-You're not allowed to drive.
I'm not going to drive.
I don't have an official "You can't drive," I don't think, do I?
Yeah, but the DVLA have told you, they've taken your licence away.
Granddad was diagnosed with vascular dementia, which is caused when blood
supply to the brain is restricted.
In Granddad's case,
it led to violent mood swings and a dramatic loss of short-term memory.
Do you think they've taken my licence away forever?
-Cos Nan showed me the letter.
-What did the letter say?
-That your driving licence has been revoked.
HE BREATHES ERRATICALLY
We've got cars coming out of our ears and can't drive them.
Was there a letter from them? Eh?
-From the DVLA?
-And what did it say?
I can't remember that.
It's because you've got dementia.
You look a bit sad.
I am a bit sad.
I miss my wife.
I don't think I'm ever going to drive again.
What else can you say about things that are important to you?
A week earlier, I was with my grandparents in Cyprus,
where they have a holiday home.
I've been going there with them ever since I can remember.
But this year, Granddad was having outbursts of aggression which
were so bad, I decided that Nan needed some space and that he should
come home early.
We were going to meet friends at a taverna.
I said, "You've been drinking too much, I'm going to drive.
"You're not safe to drive,
"I'm not going to go in the car with you."
He said, "If I don't drive, you're going nowhere."
I remember being in the bedroom, Granddad was so aggressive.
He was just shouting and shouting.
You were in the middle, trying to get between us and save me,
protect me, really.
I was really worried, actually, about what would happen to you.
One time I thought you'd have to physically restrain your granddad
and you didn't want to do that.
No, I've never seen him like that, actually.
No, it was... It was awful.
I know you were very, very, very worried.
It wasn't fair, the responsibility you had, and you said,
"I'm not leaving you, Nan. I'm not leaving you with Granddad,
"you're not safe with him any more. I'm going to take him back home."
I was so shaken by Granddad's behaviour towards Nan that
separating them seemed like the only option.
With Nan away in Cyprus, my mum and I were looking after Granddad.
You're supposed to mellow when you get to your age.
She's sitting there all on her own.
Because she needs a break.
She's not being stubborn.
She finds this alien, that's taking
over your brain sometimes, hard to deal with.
You forget you've seen people, and when I've gone,
-you'll forget I even came.
-Don't be ridiculous.
Don't be ridiculous.
Granddad, I spent two weeks with you in Cyprus less than a week
-ago, and you forgot that I came.
Granddad was too much of a handful for me to look after by myself,
so when Mum wasn't around,
Nan arranged for my Auntie Becky to come and help.
Don't make arrangements with Dominic or anybody like that.
If you want to go down there and have a rest, have a rest.
I'll have a rest here, but don't make arrangements for me
and pass it through kids, as if I'm a kid.
-How is he?
-Erm, a bit crazy.
Well, where are you going to be? Are you going to stay forever?
I'm not going to... Well, I won't go... I'm not going to go anywhere
unless you tell me what's going on.
I'm not going to be treated like a kid. Got it?
I can't understand why she's there and I'm here.
Because she needs a break from you, because you're a bit intense
and a bit obsessed with her.
-When's Mum coming home, then?
-But you'll be with one of us.
-I thought she said she was coming home on Tuesday. Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday...
-something like that.
-..but it's Tuesday tomorrow and she's definitely not coming home tomorrow.
No. Is she angry with me, then, or something?
-No, she just needs a break.
-Because you're being a bit intense.
-You're being a bit intense.
-Why's she being intense?
-No, you've been intense.
-It's always me.
-Well, it is a bit, yeah.
She's decided that she would like a few weeks on her own.
-Because you've been arguing with her a lot,
shouting at her a lot, and she can't take that. She's 80.
Where are you getting this, that we're having a go all the time?
I listen to it and you believe it.
-Well, ask Dominic.
Well, Dominic was there a couple of
weeks ago in Cyprus, and witnessed your wrath.
And...but it's a pity, then, that he's not been there long enough to
witness hers, and her punching you in the face and all that stuff.
Dad, she hasn't punched you in the face for years, and you've
pushed her around, and from what I can gather from Dominic, the other
-day, that, had he not got in between you, you might have hurt her.
That's one of my favourite pictures.
That's a lovely picture.
What were you and Nan like as a couple, when you were younger?
I thought, "The eagle has landed."
When I met Granddad, I was a widow.
And I didn't quite know where I belonged.
But I can't explain, I felt safe with him.
I don't know, it seemed as if once I'd met him, I think I kind of
knew that would be it.
The first thing I saw was the legs.
You want me to tell the truth.
Stiletto high shoes on, I thought, "Here, look at that!"
And then I bought her a drink,
found out where she lived, I didn't take her home.
But the next day I washed my car down, I thought,
"I'm going to go and find her."
And she took over my life from there.
-Why don't we go out and do something nice?
-What's, like, something nice?
-We're going to go and get some lunch,
get yourself ready, come on. You look scruffy, those trousers need changing. Come on.
MUSIC: Everyday by Buddy Holly
# Love like yours will surely come my way
# Ah-hey, ah-hey-hey. #
Now, we've got Crystal Palace playing Manchester United,
and George Best is running down the wing.
He's just about to score, and the referee blew the whistle.
Foul. So he went up to the referee, and he said, "What would you say,
"Ref, if I called you a fucking idiot?" He says, "Nothing.
"I'd book you, and you'd be off the field."
He said, "What would you do if I thought you were a fucking idiot?"
He said, "Well, I can't be responsible for your thoughts."
-He said, "Well, in that case, I think you're a fucking idiot!"
-Is that a good joke?
-That's a good joke.
-That's a good joke, isn't it?
Did you hear that?
-Should you be drinking, Granddad?
-Why? Why shouldn't I drink?
-Well, they're not good for your tablets.
-They're not memory tablets.
My memory is not brilliant, but it's OK, now get off that task,
because it's not going to help me, it just annoys me. OK?
It was hard to know whether Granddad was simply forgetting he had
dementia, or just refusing to let it dictate who he was.
I don't know what people expect of me from my memory.
If you asked me my memory of what happened when I was a kid or
when I was younger, when I was in the Army, or whatever,
I can remember it exactly.
I even know my army number - 2335 44 24, Gunner Sivyer.
Nobody ever forgets their Army number.
But I think sometimes, people, just by the nature of things,
they're getting older, they have a decline in memory.
I don't think I've got that.
I just can't be bothered to retain stuff that doesn't interest me.
Because Granddad's dementia didn't seem to affect his long-term memory,
we thought he'd enjoy revisiting places from his early life.
So we decided to take him to see the first house he bought with Nan.
Do you think if we knocked on the door at Tudor Avenue...
Oh, bugger that, I'm not doing that.
I'll walk up the end of the road before I give myself the
embarrassment of... "I used to live here 40 years ago." "So what?
"We're watching EastEnders."
-It might be nice to look back for you.
-No, I don't want to do it.
-And I'm not going to do it.
-I'll do it, then.
-No, you're not.
-I can do it on my own.
-What are you going to do?
Knock on the door and say, "Can I have a look around?
-"I used to live here 40 years ago."
-Oh, don't be naff!
-It's not naff.
-Don't be absolutely naff!
I can see your mother now, shrivelling up, wherever she is.
-Where is she?
-Granddad, whenever you talk about it, you're always really
-positive, so I'm surprised why you're being grumpy about it.
-We thought it would be nice for you to come back.
-I'm not even getting out of the car.
What are you going to say to them, you dope?! "I used to live here."
I have no interest in this reminiscing about the past.
-Are you sure you don't want to come out?
-I'm not coming.
Today we have Tom Sivyer. And what is your occupation?
Granddad's working life was pretty successful.
In the space of five years, he went from driving a truck to owning the
-You can't get better than a Sivyer tipper.
Tell me, how can a boy like you afford a car like this?
I have ways.
When I was younger, Granddad was the wealthiest person I knew.
At the height of his career, he was
successful, confident and easy-going.
But in the years following retirement, he began to change.
I think it's been for far longer than anybody realises.
I tried, I think, a number of years, I tried to get him diagnosed,
because I did suspect there was something wrong.
He'd lose his temper very easily.
He'd come within an inch of my nose, poking, poking, swearing,
shouting, just abuse. Ranting.
And I think that's why I'm deaf now, because Granddad used to shout at me.
So do you think this is all part of the dementia?
-I hope so. I hope it was.
When are you coming home? You should be on the plane tomorrow.
I am in a state here.
I've got Dominic here helping me.
And what are you doing, prancing about over there?
Granddad had been apart from Nan for three weeks,
and was phoning her constantly.
-Are you all right?
-Yeah. She makes me fucking sick!
-What did she say on the phone?
-Nothing, I didn't give her a chance.
I just wanted her to know how bloody disappointed I am in her.
What's she doing over there without me?
He is obsessed about Nan.
And he can swap between rage and sentimentality within half an hour.
OK, I won't do that ever again, I promise you.
I won't hold your hand, or do anything.
I'll just treat you as if you were something that passed me by.
What options does she have?
Nothing, really. She's not to answer the phone, I guess.
I'm perfectly... I'm perfectly...
Then he'll phone her again, because he'll forget that he's phoned her.
I'm your husband. I'm in trouble here.
I need help. I've got nobody to talk to.
Nothing to live for.
If you abandon me now, I might as well cut my throat.
Since his diagnosis, Granddad had been taking multiple drugs which
were meant to stabilise his mood and memory loss.
-I've got your tablets here.
There's quite a few.
-You all right?
-Yeah, fine, thank you.
-Where is she, then?
-Where is she?
-You know where she is.
-Is she in Cyprus?
-You know that, don't you?
-No, I didn't.
Well, not for sure, I didn't.
Granddad's behaviour was becoming increasingly repetitive.
He'd ring Nan, shout, forget, and then five minutes later,
he'd do it all over again.
Did we speak to her today?
-Uh, yeah, we did, Granddad.
-And who phoned who?
Uh, I spoke to her, I think you've rung her quite a few times today.
-Can you not remember that?
-No, I don't, actually.
-Just a quick word with your mum, before she goes.
-just talking to her for a minute.
-I just said when she... Before you're
-I will, I will.
-She's my wife, remember.
-Yeah, I know, will you....
-Just one second, I want to
-tell her something.
-I do not want you coming back here on your own with him.
I'm not joking, Mum. This is not a good environment for you.
'Yes, I'm dreading it.'
Becky, don't forget I want a quick word!
-Granddad, I heard you!
You cannot be here alone with him.
He is obsessed, he is obsessed with you.
'Yes, and the trouble with obsession
'is that it can turn from love into anger very quickly.'
Granddad started waking up in the middle of the night, confused,
raging, and sometimes hallucinating.
Eventually, things got so bad that we decided he needed medical help.
There was a knock on the door, and it was two doctors.
And I will guess that their assessment was that I needed help.
She said, "You're coming with us."
I said, "No, I'm not. I'm not coming with you."
And she said, "You are,
"and if necessary, I'll call the police."
Granddad was taken to hospital against his will,
and was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
I was shocked that such drastic action had been taken,
but Granddad's situation wasn't uncommon.
Half of all those sectioned in the UK have dementia.
Under the terms of his section, Granddad would have to remain in a
secure psychiatric unit for a minimum of 28 days.
I've bought you some bits.
Got you some nuts, some wine gums.
I've got your suit trousers.
Oh, there are your pants.
-Have these been washed?
I washed them at home.
-What was weird?
-When I had that...
When was it, yesterday or last night?
-I don't know what you're talking about.
-When I was, when I...
When I passed out at the garage.
You know what I'm talking about?
-You didn't pass out.
-What did I do, then?
I don't know.
Well, you must know something,
cos you're saying, "You didn't do that." Hmm?
I don't know what... What garage are you talking about?
A garage where they park cars.
I came and parked... My car was over the other side of the road, and I
didn't know where I'd been or anything about it, right?
I think that may have been one of the...
-You think so?
I promise you, cos you've been here, Granddad.
You've been here for a while. You've not been in a garage.
-How long have I been here?
-Just over a week.
Did anybody come and see me while I was unconscious?
You weren't unconscious.
How do you know that?
Because it didn't happen.
Because people have been with you the whole time.
-What did I come here in?
-You were brought here.
-By two psychiatrists.
I tell you, I'm glad you've come, it would be bloody boring without you.
How did we get here?
-Here, this building.
I'm trying to get my bearings, if I go home.
-I didn't come by car, did I?
Here, no, you're in hospital, Granddad.
That in itself is weird.
-Are you fed up?
-No, it's just, I feel...
I just feel sorry for you, because...
What do you feel sorry, because I can't remember it?
-Well, I remember something, and
in that, from where I am, it was completely remember...
I must have been asleep or in some comatose situation.
I now think I know roughly...
-What's the matter?
-I feel sorry for you, Granddad. DOMINIC WEEPS
-Sorry, I'm sorry for you.
Why? Hey, come on, why?
Answer me, come on, stop that!
Yeah, but it must be really horrible.
-You think I'm going to die?
-No, I don't think you're going to die.
-You think I'm going to be an invalid?
-I'm not allowed to move, is that right?
-Why did we come to this
hotel, then? Did they direct us
-You're not in a hotel, you're in a hospital.
On your marks, get set, go!
Granddad seemed to be getting more and more confused.
-Has he got it? Has he really?
I began to worry how much of this was due to his dementia, and how
much I had aggravated the situation
by helping to keep him and Nan apart.
That was really good.
By protecting her, perhaps I was harming him.
PHONE LINE RINGING
'Hello, this is Pam and Tom Sivyer.
'If you leave your name and your number,
'we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Bye now.'
Hi, Nan, it's Dom.
I'm just ringing because I went to see Granddad in hospital today,
and he's not good. He's really not good.
And I know I said to you that you needed to stay in Cyprus, but
I don't think I can do this on my own, so I think we need to have a
chat about you perhaps coming back.
Give me a ring when you get this. OK, bye.
Three days later, Nan returned to the UK.
I was glad she was back, but at the same time I wasn't sure if she'd be
strong enough to cope with Granddad.
Are you happy to be back?
No. I didn't want to come back.
He is expecting me to go there and take him home, and I can't.
He's been detained because they feel he is a danger to himself, and how
am I going to explain that to him?
I've never let Granddad down.
But it's very frustrating to have to deal with a person who is an
entirely different person from the person you married.
-Cor, you've lost some weight.
-I haven't lost any weight.
-Have you put me in here?
They sectioned you.
Because you weren't taking care of yourself.
Who says so? Don't I look healthy for a man of 75?
What are they talking about?
Because you've got dementia.
Oh, so that's it?
I hate that fucking word!
I'm... Dementia, eat, sleep here, this, I'm anything but that!
What's dementia? I forget things?
Well, I haven't forgotten they stuffed me here.
Where am I going to go when I go out here?
Well, in a place where they...
-A nursing home?
-Yes, a nursing home.
What good's that do?
Well, I don't feel ill at all and I don't feel ill mentally, and that's
where you're going. What's mental about me?
I'm fit, I want to get out of this
place and I don't want to listen to crap!
I've found your attitude quite strange.
Where did you bugger off to go on holiday, when I'm in the middle of a
-crisis, didn't you?
-Did you miss me when you were over there?
What do you do when you go over there, do you go out at night,
do you go out dancing, got a boyfriend?
What do you do?
I sit here and think, "Well, she's out in Cyprus doing all this..."
When have I last gone dancing? I'm 80 years of age.
-It's so sad.
It was worse than I thought.
I can't... I don't... I just don't know where to go from here.
What can I do? Can I live with that?
-But this is your life as well, Nan,
-and you have to just say honestly what you want.
Can I? Can I possibly be happy by turning my back against him?
Is it possible?
You have to be really honest with what you want.
Cos it's going to shock everybody,
and they're going to be cross with me.
Let's go home.
I really don't know what's in his mind any more.
Though he says he adores me, loves me, all the rest of it.
If you were to really dig deep...
..you'd find that he's only interested in himself,
cos that's the nature of the illness.
It's how it is.
-PHONE ANSWER SERVICE:
-'Message eight, Saturday 5:59pm.
-'Hi, it's me...
-Message deleted. Message 14, Saturday 6:31pm.
'Hi, it's me...
'Message 19, Saturday 7:41pm.'
-This is all on Saturday?
-'How nice of you...'
-You get all of these messages?
Yeah, and I speak to him a lot.
How many more are coming?
-He just says the same thing.
-'Message 31, Saturday...'
I have this every day.
You're not in prison, love, you're in hospital.
You are safe.
It's only these nasty dreams you're having, I've told you before.
At night-time you seem to get these weird dreams,
and they're just dreams.
I know it's the medicine, yeah, you're right, it's the medicine.
And it's making you better. but it's also giving you...
It has side effects.
At 10:30 tomorrow,
the manager of the convalescent home is coming to see you.
If she deems that you're not very angry, etc,
she will accept you into her convalescent home.
And please be nice and pleasant, like I know you can be,
because I want you to be able to go there.
I've told him it's a convalescent home and he's only going for
two weeks, and that they won't release him unless he has two weeks'
convalescence, but that's not the truth.
The truth is, it's a nursing home and he's going there for good.
I understood why Nan felt she couldn't tell Granddad the truth,
but I didn't feel comfortable with it.
And I don't think she did, either.
'Nan's really upset, traumatised about all this.
'She's racked with guilt, no matter what she says,
'she is racked with guilt.
'I don't think she knows which way she's blowing, to be honest
-Yeah. I know.
-'And as much as we love Granddad, you know,
'he can be a right nutcase sometimes.
'It's an odd one, there aren't really any answers, are there?
'I think that's why everybody's so, so upset. It's because, you
'know, you just want to solve it, and it's unsolvable.'
After six weeks in the psychiatric ward,
Granddad was sent to a care home, 35 miles from Highberries.
Although he was out of hospital, his movements were still restricted,
meaning that he was not free to leave the building unaccompanied.
He hadn't been told this was a permanent move,
and in his confusion, he was convinced that he was on holiday.
When did Nan go home, last night?
-Er, the other day.
-The other day?
Why did she go home early, then?
Wasn't arguing with her, was I?
Nan was left alone at Highberries, but visited Granddad every few days.
When I first visited him in the home, I would do everything right.
I'd make sure he had his clothes and they were clean.
I did all the things I should do,
but part of me was still angry at how he treated me.
And it took a while to get over that.
You seem a bit on edge.
I am, really.
I am. It's a different phase of my life, isn't it?
I'm having to come to terms that...
..that my life is going to be entirely different.
I've never been on my own since I was 18.
After nearly two months of separation,
visits to the care home were proving stressful for both Nan and Granddad.
Talking to the experts, it has been gently suggested that,
after my visit, he becomes very, very agitated.
I remind him of home, I'm reminding him of his past life,
which no longer exists.
And it would be better if I didn't visit so often.
I kind of disagree, I couldn't live with not seeing Granddad like that.
-I think it would be horrible.
-But you've got to ask yourself,
is it horrible for you or horrible for Granddad?
Cos remember, five minutes after you have visited him,
he's forgotten you've been.
ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC PLAYS
What do I want to be in a smelly old people's home for,
for an indefinite period of time?
You go around and they're sitting there, looking at the wall,
and looking at each other. The women are sitting there with thick
lisle stockings on, with their legs apart and all that.
Go, give me the gun, I'll shoot myself.
I'm never going to do that.
On the days that Nan wasn't visiting Granddad in the care home,
I went instead.
But each time I saw him, there was only one thing on his mind.
So you're taking me home?
-Well, not today.
-So when we going to go?
Well, you have to stay here today.
I'm not staying here today.
I've been here all week and I want to go home.
Do you think £95 will get me home?
I want to go home.
And tomorrow, one way or the other, I'm going home,
even if I have to walk. If you say, "I don't want any part of that, I'm scared, I'm scared of
"this and that," all right, I'll call you a wimp.
All I'm going to do is get in your car and go.
If Granddad came out of the care home,
I wasn't sure who in the family would be able to look after him.
But being here only seemed to be making things worse.
He was losing control and felt nobody was listening to him.
Where are you going?
I'm going home.
Two weeks later, Granddad did manage a temporary escape.
It was agreed that he could spend Christmas at my mum's house.
HE KISSES DOMINIC AND LAUGHS
All right. Granddad, I'll show you, you've got new clothes in here.
I got you some...your pants and socks there, and you've got a new
shirt and a blazer for Christmas in there.
I'm going to go and get you a razor, though, OK?
What a lucky boy I am.
A great daughter, this. A really great daughter.
-One, two, three.
-I used to do that to... What's your name? Donald?
-Dominic. Donald, his name is.
-I'm not Donald.
Less of that bellybutton, thank you. That's mine!
# I need your love... #
Once he was out of the care home, Granddad seemed to be transformed.
Surrounded by familiar people and places,
it was as if we had the old Granddad back.
But after Christmas was over, Granddad refused to return to
the care home, so Nan agreed to have him back.
And it only took a couple of weeks for her to hit breaking point.
-Do you not understand?
You are so selfish and I can't do it any more.
And if I drop down and have a heart attack...
I don't want to do it any more!
The doctors have told me I can't keep this up.
Get your hands off me!
What, do you just know when he needs to do it?
Yeah, he's starting getting...
He starts getting agitated and agitated and agitated.
-I'm not cross, you keep accusing me of being cross.
-All right, you're not cross. There you are.
I'm more exasperated that I have to take these.
-What do they do?
-I don't know!
They're prescribed by the doctor.
-I'll put the coffee on.
Have you spoken about him going back to the home?
Oh, he's said he'll kill himself.
-He said that?
-If I put him in a home, he's going to kill himself.
That's what he says.
Two nights later, Nan called the Ambulance Service,
thinking she was having a stroke.
But instead of taking her to hospital, they brought in
social services, who assessed that, at 81 years old, Nan was simply not
coping with caring for Granddad.
He was taken back to the same psychiatric unit where he was first
sectioned, until a permanent solution could be found.
I hate to say this,
I was pleased.
I really wanted him to go away.
I wanted him to go away like mad.
I really, with all my heart,
I prayed that he would go.
I felt guilty, because I didn't feel sorry for him,
as sorry as I should have felt.
I should have been devastated that he was in hospital.
And I wasn't.
Granddad spent another five weeks in hospital before being discharged.
We knew by then there was no way he could go back to living with Nan.
So my Aunt Becky agreed to take him in.
-I'll tell you something, Dad.
If we can get you calm, so you don't get angry,
if you could stay calm...
-If I could stay calm, what?
-Then it would be easier for Mum,
and Mum wouldn't have a problem in looking after you.
Granddad, what do you want to do today?
-We're going to go out, you need to go and have a shower, because we're going out.
-Going out where?
-We're going out for a walk.
-I'm not going out for a walk.
-You've got to go out
-for a walk.
-I don't want to go for a walk, and I'm not going for a walk. I'll go have a shower,
-All right, well, can you go and have a shower?
No, I don't want to do it right now, but I promise you I will have a shower.
-It's your fourth day without a shower.
-Fourth day without a shower.
-It really is,
-Look, I'll go and have a shower. How many more times do you want me to tell you? All right?
I'm going to come and put it on. Come on, I'll show you where your stuff are. Come on, Dad.
No, I'm not! I'm going to have another ten minutes!
-I can't be hassled.
-I'm going to have a shower!
-Dad, you smell.
-I'm not coming up for five minutes, OK?
If you want to run the shower for five minutes...
Well, do it!
-You all right?
-No, I'm not.
I feel ill.
So, this is my room.
Can you see?
Why have you got a lock?
Because Granddad comes in my room every night, and now he can't,
The other night I was in the bed, and there was this much space.
And he actually got on the bed behind me and cuddled me,
I feel mean, because it's not funny, but it is funny.
And he just said, um, "Cuddle me, I'm really scared."
So I went downstairs with him,
and I slept on one sofa and he slept on the other.
What are Granddad's options?
His options are that he can stay
with me, or I guess he'll have to go back in a home.
-Who says so?
-You won't be able to live on your own, Dad.
Don't be ridiculous.
-You going to take me down to pick my car up?
-Yeah, if you want.
Well, I've got no other means of getting down there otherwise,
Becky's got to go to work.
Well, the trouble is, you won't be able to drive your car.
-Because you haven't got a driving licence.
But I have. Now, that is a state of fact. I have a driving licence.
I don't know, Dad. Sometimes I admire you, because I think you're
just hanging on as much as you can to who you are.
Granddad was no longer Nan's responsibility,
but living alone was proving more difficult than she'd imagined.
Living in Highberries was too much for me. Definitely.
I lived in a tiny corner of it.
Unless I was visiting Granddad, I didn't want to get dressed
or go out.
I didn't want to ring anybody.
I didn't really want to talk to anybody.
I sometimes just sat and didn't go to bed.
I've never felt so low.
And I couldn't see a way forward.
After a month of having Granddad in her house,
Becky came up with a new plan.
She decided to renovate a studio in her back garden,
with the idea that he would live here permanently.
This is, um...going to be sort of a living area.
So there's going to be a sink put in over there.
Um... This is the bathroom.
This is being completely gutted, actually.
-What do you make of it, Granddad?
-Pretty good, I think.
Pretty good. A nice little house for somebody, isn't it?
A month later, Nan made a big decision.
She moved out of Highberries and into a retirement village,
where she could get support when she needed it.
When I decided to move, I was apprehensive.
I've lived at the same house for 30 years, and I was doing it alone.
If I hadn't have moved here,
I think my health would have seriously deteriorated.
Are you happy in this new place?
Yes, I am, actually.
Yes. Yes, I am.
-Is that from Granddad?
-What does he say in it?
He says, "When we met, I was dancing over the moon with my luck,
"and I miss you so much, it hurts.
"I have had you for 50 years", or something.
I can't read all his writing. It's a little bit of a scrawl.
-Does Granddad know you've moved in?
No, he doesn't.
No, he doesn't.
Over the next two months, Nan settled into the retirement village,
and Granddad moved into the newly renovated studio in Becky's garden.
He was weaned off the mood-stabilising drugs
and seemed to be doing well.
Are you happy here?
I don't like being on my own.
When Nan turns up, we'll probably have a nice couple of days.
I need company. I don't like being on my own.
Nan agreed to start seeing Granddad regularly,
but the visits were rarely happy.
We told Granddad that Nan had moved out of Highberries,
which, predictably, he didn't take very well.
I presume I'm going to Highberries
and you're going to stay where you are, right?
-I don't wish to talk about it this afternoon.
You can't be at Highberries on your own.
I'm not going to be on my own.
I'm going tomorrow. And if you don't want to be with me, fine.
-You can't look after yourself.
-Oh, bollocks. Don't be stupid.
You know, you're not going to control me. You don't want to live with me, fine.
I don't want to control you, I just want you happy.
You're not going to do anything to me.
I'm going to do it myself.
-Unfortunately, you can't.
-Why? Who says I can't?
-There's not a doctor said that to me.
-Yes, they have, actually.
Well, they haven't!
Tom, when you attempted it, they sectioned you twice.
Well, look, I'm going to do it, OK?
I'm going to do it.
Now, you get on with your life, if that's what you keep saying to me,
you do it. All right?
I'm not going to be tucked up in a corner. I am not.
Seeing Granddad makes me feel confused.
Part of me feels...
Oh, so relieved that I'm...I'm not looking after him any more.
And that is a feeling that is not a good one to have, cos
you feel... I feel guilty that I shouldn't want to
snatch him up and take him home.
After Nan left, we realised that we had to tell Granddad the truth.
He would be staying with Becky for good.
Nan would remain in her new home.
And Highberries, the house that they had owned together
for nearly 40 years, was up for sale.
I just feel so betrayed.
I feel mentally scarred at the moment.
I don't know, I just think we've fallen out of love.
And she's been a big part - 50 years, I've been with her.
How can I help you? I don't know how to help you.
Is that what you feel like?
What, really? Like you don't want to live?
My world has collapsed.
MUSIC: 'S Wonderful by Doris Day
Even after all the rows, the shouting and the ranting,
I began to wonder whether being apart from each other would always
be more destructive than Nan and Granddad being back together.
And I wasn't the only one.
-'I've been crying a lot, Dom. I don't... It started up...
'It's hard to describe.
'I'm a bit fragile this morning.'
What's making you feel fragile at the moment?
'I'm just not...in a good place.
'I know I can't help it. I just feel a bit sad, Dom.
'I don't know what's going to happen to him.
'It's so sad. He's my husband.
'He's my responsibility.'
I tried to tell myself that I didn't love him or didn't like him,
I didn't want him there.
But it wasn't true. I was just kidding myself.
I think I needed that bit of a break.
What happened was, he rang me up.
He was just crying.
And he said, "It's breaking my heart."
And I just, I thought,
"I can't. I can't do this. No matter what,
"this isn't the end of our story.
"It can't be."
And I just said, "You know what?
"Bring him home. Bring him here now.
"Bring him straight down now."
And that's the best remark I've ever made.
"Bring him now."
TOM WHISTLES AND BIRD RESPONDS
There you are.
HE WHISTLES AND BIRD REPEATS MELODY
Didn't know I could do that, did you?
-Is that pot going in there?
-It's nowhere near big enough.
After five months in Becky's studio,
Granddad moved into the retirement village with Nan.
Be careful, you're treading on some plants.
Look at that. There.
I was treading there.
-Oh! Mind your foot on that rose!
-It's not on the rose.
Once they were reunited, the change in him seemed instant and dramatic.
Why are you so chirpy?
Crystal Palace is doing OK.
Charlton are doing OK.
And I'm doing OK.
Look at the difference.
Now I can cope.
Now I can love him and enjoy our time together,
our last few years together.
Granddad seems to like it here.
Yes, he hasn't quite got as far as saying this is home yet.
But I think he's happy here.
Well, certainly his behaviour is, oh, 100 times better.
And in the end, what does it matter?
What does it matter if he doesn't remember yesterday,
if today is good?
I mean, I just expected him... When he was hospitalised,
I just expected him, really, to get worse.
Occasionally he does get angry, but it's more petulant.
It's not really fearsome.
And that's the biggest change.
But what... I don't get what it is. I don't get what's changed.
Or what has made him change.
-That's what I don't understand...
-I really don't know.
He's got a great deal of strength of character.
Maybe it's that.
-What are you talking about?
-We're talking about you,
rejecting that you are not 100% fit and well and in control of your own
-When was I not well?
For the last two years you haven't been that well.
-I've been fine in the last two years.
-Well, no, you seem great now.
-That's why I asked her.
You see, that's the one thing that makes Granddad angry,
if you talk about any illness.
But in the old days, that would have made him very, very, very cross.
Now he'll just be a bit angry.
-Come on, let's go and give him a hug.
-No, he won't hug.
-No, he won't hug. Not in a million years.
-We can't have a sad ending.
It's got to be a happy one.
I started filming this documentary to try and make sense of an illness
that was taking away the most important man in my life,
and dismantling 50 years of a marriage.
But what I found defied all expectation.
Whilst Granddad still has problems with his short-term memory,
his moods have improved, and the anger and aggression have subsided.
But perhaps what's most surprising is that, with all the forces pulling
him and Nan apart, they've somehow held on to each other.
So are you happy being back with each other, then?
What, now? No, I feel that there's a bit of comeuppance coming for me!
Do you think you'd ever accept that you had dementia?
Uh, no. Why should I?
You think I do?
The word "dementia" annoys me.
I'm just not interested in it.
And the more it comes at me, the more I shall kick it away.
All I've got to worry about is, I love my wife, your grandmother,
we've had ups and downs, and this and that,
but we've been married a long time.
And she has fought for me and gone beyond any reasonable thing to stand
shoulder-to-shoulder to me.
If anything happened to her, then I would be in trouble.
I definitely would be.
I would say, beware of what you wish for.
Cos I got my way when I was on my own.
And for all its ups and downs, I much prefer it this way.
I wished he hadn't got this illness, but...
..that's the way the cookie crumbles, kid.
GENTLE MUSIC PLAYS
Documentary following 79-year-old Tom Sivyer after he was diagnosed with vascular dementia, filmed by his grandson Dominic. Shot over two years, the film is told through Dominic's eyes as he struggles to look after his grandad while, at the same time, his grandparents' relationship begins to suffer as a result of Tom's disease.
The film captures Tom's rapid mental decline and the attempts of his family to care for a once fiercely independent and proud man. But when the family is unable to cope with Tom's worsening moods and behaviour, Dominic follows his grandad as he is temporarily sectioned into a psychiatric ward.
Over the following months, Tom is moved from one family home to the next, and then into a nursing home, before being temporarily sectioned again.
The film also highlights the effect on Dominic's grandma Pam who, at 82 years old, is finding it almost impossible to live with the increasingly erratic Tom.