“Imagine not knowing what time it is and walking into a room full of clocks all showing a different time. This is what I imagine my mother’s dementia state is like.
In the summer of 2020 amid a pandemic, my widowed mother was diagnosed with dementia. She would be among the 569,600 Canadians living with dementia that year. 61.8% of those were women.
In the summer of 2022, I was tasked with the difficult decision of moving my mother into a retirement home. Her love language had always been food and she was completely fluent in many different cuisines. So much so that up until my teens, I thought tourtière pies — a traditional French-Canadian meat dish — was from our Caribbean culture. And when I became a vegan in my 20s, she simply replaced the ground beef (the main ingredient in tourtières) with eggplant.
I ended up choosing a place where my mother would at least have a kitchenette. This miniature room box represents the full-scale kitchen I wish I could have given her. A space big enough for friends and family to drop in, lots of plants, and of course a place to cook — something she could no longer do with the only appliances now being a microwave and fridge.
Incorporated in the miniature kitchen are items that I salvaged while downsizing my mother: some of the hands on the miniature wall clocks are from her assorted collection of wristwatches; some of the miniature foliage are from her silk plants that were de rigueur in the 80s; and the dishes, mugs and fruit bowl are made from pattern tissue paper — my mother loved to sew almost as much as she loved to cook.
With this window display I hope to raise awareness about dementia and Alzheimers.”
– Roxanne Brathwaite (Suite City Woman)