Stories

The stories on these pages are from people affected by dementia.

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My Greatest Sadness.

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

First signs

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.

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.

Where Or Who Do You Go To When You No Longer Have The Strength To Be A Carer - What Do You Do?

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. 

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.

Both my parents were diagnosed with dementia within 2 years of each other: my father with Lewy Body Disease, my mother with Alzheimer’s.

As I lived an hour and a half drive away, I became a long distance carer for four years.

Dad died in 2010 and Mum entered care 10 months later.

I still care for Mum – but as a daughter rather than the primary carer. I could not have done what I did without the assistance of my family, a wonderful group of friends and organisations like Alzheimer's Australia and various Homecare groups. 

My story begins with my parents. My father had Alzheimer’s and his change was very sad to see although I could see the change in him, my siblings were too busy to notice.

He had other health problems by which I am aware of what medications side effects have on the individual. Only by research did I find this out.

My father died in 2010 with a subdural hematoma as he would constantly loose his footing and the nursing home he was in he had a fall which put him in hospital never to come out.

A gnarled hand, a knitted blue cap, A sky blue shawl held close. The slight, girlish voice asks, ‘What shall I do next?’

What was her life, this figure with a shawl? Did she dance the tarantella; play the harp; See Easter Island. Live in Zimbabwe; Be outraged by injustice?

Now she wanders. A grandson visits, ‘Heather’ he calls her. Heather, light and ephemeral.

The green eyes are bright, They see but the focus is opaque. ‘Duncan’, she calls. Yes, I knew Duncan. Where is he now?