The stories on these pages are from people affected by dementia.
I have found myself, at the age of 62
In a place that I never thought I’d be
I have a husband, children, and grandchildren. Let me tell you a little about me……
My mind is in a fog, my days seem empty
No longer can I work – the future seems bleak My memory is going, and anxiety now haunts me Every day it’s just normality that I seek
My name is Wendy and I am 54 years old. Prior to my diagnosis (which was 3 years ago) I was working full-time as a Payroll Officer and I was a sole parent with my 22 year old daughter living at home.
It was in my work place that I first noticed something was not right. I had been in Payroll for 18 years and couldn’t remember how to do back pay or remember the meetings that I had attended. So after becoming quite concerned about what was going on at work I went to my GP of several years.
My mum’s story is a tragic one, although there was a silver lining in the end.
Since I was 9 (I am currently 45) my mum, Maurine, had battled with mental health issues. She had bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression and until her late forties was an alcoholic.
I have tried so very, very hard to keep my husband, with Alzheimer’s, at home for as long as possible, and not place him in a Nursing Home.
33 years ago my Mother was diagnosed with Dementia.
The Doctor told my Father and me that Dementia meant Mum's brain cells were dying, and nothing could be done.
She would soon be institutionalised in Kenmore Mental Asylum - a very old, lock-up facility. This left us feeling helpless, hopeless and broken-hearted over what was happening.
The illness progressed as expected, with Mum "living" her last 4 years in Kenmore, not recognising me, not talking, and cared for by people who were not able to help us connect in any way.
My husband was diagnosed 4 years ago with Alzheimer’s as a result of my noticing speech repetition patterns developing over a period of a few months. There are some excellent services available to people suffering from this dreadful disease but I feel that there are some areas which need addressing urgently especially in the light of the burgeoning number of cases diagnosed each year.
Michael grew up in the South-West of England, living in the fishing villages of Cornwall and Devon.
He enjoyed an active outdoor life.
A natural ability in art took him to art college, which was then interrupted by his conscription to the British Air-Force, where he was chosen to be a Fitness Instructor. From there he was recruited to be trained in the newly developed Diploma in Remedial Gymnastics, to help rehabilitate severely disabled ex-servicemen.
My journey with Alzheimer’s began about three months before my husband was diagnosed with the disease in September 2007.
I noticed that my husband was repeating the same conversations several times each day and, to begin with, it was generally about the weather. When you hear the same sentences numerous times each day, it not only irritates but it points to some underlying problem. I was lucky and managed to get my husband to see a specialist with a few months of first noticing this trait.
My mother’s name was Ruth Hawkins and we finally celebrated her passing February this year.
We watched Ruth battle dementia for over ten years. Ten years ago support, assistance, knowledge was at a minimum and difficult to co ordinate for someone who did not want to accept their fate.
THE ROAD FORWARD IS THE WAY BACK
Dried reeds dance in the wind by the side of the road as the miles pass by, And sunlight streaming through the car window in rays connects my present to my childhood past.
Shapes of gathering clouds elicit from deep within my mind memories of lying on my back in perfect harmony and tranquillity with my world and letting my imagination take over my very being.
There is nowhere I can’t go and nothing I can’t do, empowered by the boundless montage of fantasies I can create from the sensations surrounding me.