The stories on these pages are from people affected by dementia.
I was diagnosed with dementia by a psych-geriatrician in Hobart in April of 2008; my diagnosis was dementia probable Alzheimer’s.
She based this diagnosis on my test scores previously given to me by a Neuro-psychologist, the Mini-Mental and other dementia tests. She started me on Aricept that day. I continue to see her on a regular (every 6 months) basis. At those visits, she evaluates any progression of the disease.
For me, Younger Onset Dementia first raised its ugly head in the 1980s when my husband was diagnosed with Fronto Temporal Dementia. He was 52 and died at 66 in 1999.
Four years later my daughter Lisa, then 43, was diagnosed with the same type of dementia. She had become difficult to live with and had separated from her husband and was living with her daughter aged 15 and son 12. Her driving was erratic and she eventually had a driving accident and I found out there was no insurance when I received a bill for $12,500 from the other party’s insurance company.
I write this on behalf of my son whose wife Jodie developed Dementia/Alzheimer’s in her late 40’s after being told her symptoms were menopausal.
Sadly pathology, brain scans and a battery of other testing proved otherwise and we set out on a road thwart with obstacles, joy, discovery, wonder, puzzlement, unbelievable sadness and a whole new learning for all concerned.
There are bangles on her forearms she has rings on every finger, a frangipani in her hair the fragrance will not linger.
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.
I lay here in my bed awake still, sleep I know at some stage I will,
My mother died from dementia just over a year ago. She was 79 years old and had been first diagnosed in her late 60s.
Prior to that she spent just over two years in a locked dementia unit, initially classified as low care. She was prescribed haloperidol and it was used routinely in her residential dementia unit. I do not think it directly contributed to her death though it did affect her quality of life.
My mother in law, Norma Jamieson, was diagnosed with Dementia, around 4 years ago.
She was referred to a specialist whom confirmed she had Alzheimer’s, and placed Norma on medication. Norma lived alone in Balwyn North, as she had done since her separation from my father in law some 25-30 years earlier.
Initially the medication seemed to help a little, and then it seemed to be preventing her disease from progressing. Norma did have other issues, something to do with her thyroid, which had mental ability complications, also heart disease.