A retired decorator to the stars has just completed his biggest makeover project replicating his former home for his dementia suffering wife.
In a glittering career Matt Muircroft glossed doors and hung wallpaper for some of the most famous people in the world, including royalty, in the business he ran with wife, Julie.
But the 75-year-old has had to summon the skills that took him to the very top of his trade to help Julie cope with dementia.
Modest Matt who shared a flat in Berkshire with Julie for 30 years, has copied the interior of their old home for the couple’s new high rise flat in Motherwell.
During his career, Matt painted palatial interiors, including preparing sections of 14th century St George’s chapel for the wedding of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones in June 1999.
But Matt explained that the latest job in his 1960s Motherwell tower block has been the most important of his life.
The father-of-six, who also has eight great-grandchildren, said: “Julie was diagnosed with dementia in 2009 and we moved back to Motherwell last May to be near our close family for extra support.
“One of the things we were told initially was that big changes in surroundings can create confusion and anxiety if someone is affected by dementia.
“I had a long, hard think about what I could do to make the transition as seamless as possible for Julie.
“It seemed like one of the most obvious things to do would be to use the skills of my trade to help.”
From colour scheme to skirtings, fireplace to fittings, the decor of the flat has been painstaking replicated from their former home, also a flat.
Alzheimer Scotland who are helping Matt care for his wife by offering advice and support are playing a key role in the nationwide Reshaping Care for Older People(RCOP) programme.
RCOP aims to help growing numbers of older people over 65 to continue to live full, positive and independent lives in the community.
RCOP partners, who also include NHS Lanarkshire, North and South Lanarkshire Council the voluntary and independent sector, are also focussed on recognising and supporting unpaid carers, like Matt.
Arlene Crocket, of Alzheimer Scotland, said: “To move to a new environment can be very unsettling for some people affected by dementia and can sometimes exacerbate confusion.
“That’s why having as much familiarly in a new environment is really important, and items, like ornaments, photographs and paintings from a previous setting can help in many cases.
“What Matt has done by making the new flat almost identical to his last home really is a moving example of someone going the extra-mile for a loved one.
Matt added: “Caring for Julie and helping her cope with the changes the condition has brought by doing anything I can has become my sole focus.”