Barbara

The care home resident

Played by Barbara Rafferty

Barbara, a woman with dementia in a care home, struggles to work out what is going on. Her thoughts are anxious. She longs for her mother. She has physical sensations affecting her breathing. She feels shame and guilt. Alone, she wonders where she is. Leaping to her feet she calls out for someone, anyone to come along.

Barbara is quietly singing an old song to herself while rearranging soft toys on a blanket in front of her. We know later, from her daughter, that this is the sort of thing she did to comfort her children when they were little. She looks unbearably sad. And she says, “Departed. Never to return.”

Barbara is trying to remember who has a birthday coming up. Her thoughts are disjointed, but there are themes about viruses, hospitals, and sickness. She knows something is wrong and feels it might be herself that is wrong. She thinks someone was crying and naked in her room, and we wonder if she saw herself, or imagined someone, or if another resident had truly wandered in.

Barbara struggles to remember Mikey’s name. Her frustration is real. She’s fond of the care worker “the wee girl”. At last she finds his name and she screams it out, and turns to bang on the windows, begging to be let out. She is clearly getting worse. A voice over comes from Mikey, her grandson. No matter how angry his words become, she does not move. In the end she fades away and disappears. And her grandson says goodbye to her.

The actor

The care home resident Barbara is played by the actress Barbara Rafferty, who has appeared in countless theatre productions, and films, as well as soaps such as Rab C Nesbitt, Hamish Macbeth, and River City. Barbara has already supported the Dementia Services Development Trust by appearing in the film We Need to Talk about Dementia.

Barbara in her own words

The writing was excellent and so pertinent to the plight of people like the character.  It was fantastic especially making the film in extraordinary times.  I’m grateful for for the chance to be part of it all because I think it’s a very important and vital piece of work for our times, and to work with all the talent we had around us ( virtually ) and really, including the actors writers directors technical crew alongside our producers. Good writing and good people around makes my job so much easier.  And I guess I went into the archives of my mind and channeled my own mum’s journey through her years with dementia, spending the last eight years of her life in a care home. I think that’s what actors do, try and replicate what we know and what we experience. I am grateful to have been part of this important work and very proud.   I can only hope we make a difference, however small… dementia the grand larcenist.

Stuart Davids, Director

Barbara was really able to portray a woman in this situation. I can see elements of my own experience of my mother’s Lewy Body Dementia in how she moves and speaks in this piece.

Resources

If any issues arise for you on looking at this film, you may find some of the resources here helpful, or contact the Trust on admin@dementiatrust.org.uk. The character Barbara has dementia, so some dementia resources are included here. Please get in touch if you know of other resources that we can link to this page admin@dementiatrust.org.uk. Although Take Me With You is a work of fiction, every plot line in the story is lifted from a published news story or the personal experience of the writers and actors.

Some of the news stories are listed here, but the Trust is happy to be asked about any parts of the story that anyone feels present and exaggerated, unfair or untrue picture.

Care homes and nursing home reviews which can help you decide whether a particular care home is right for you or the person you care for

Scottish Care Latest news from the voice of the independent care sector is the news feed of the organisation that campaigns for the care sector in Scotland

Coronavirus(COVID -19): adult care homes visiting guidance is the guidance for visiting that was right at the time of making the film, and we will update it as we can

Care England; representing independent care providers in England is the news feed of the organisation that campaigns for the care sector in England

Dementia the One Stop Guide is a book about dementia. Up to 90% of care home residents have some form of dementia

News stories

Growing number of care homes using mobile visitor pods to reunite residents and families is a story about how care homes worked to make visiting possible

More than 130 discharged from royal Cornwall Hospital to care homes without coronavirus test Covid-19 gives one example of the rush to empty care homes

Risk of death in UK care homes 13 times higher than in Germany

Dementia patients deteriorating without family visits

Coronavirus: ‘The care home lockdown sent my senile grandad into spiral of decline’ – BBC News