Wendy

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. 

In response to my concerns she didn’t seem to want to investigate so I went to a different practice.

I was then sent off to the public system where I was looked after but in retrospect they only carried out a few basic tests and gave little information. It became apparent that it would be up to me and my family to get any more information after diagnosis.

Leaving my workplace

Having the diagnosis changed my life considerably. For instance, in regards to work I was fortunate to be able to decide when to leave. I took 6 months to get some things in order as I didn’t want to stay as I felt I could not do my job properly and that the other staff were carrying me. Leaving work was the best option for me as it became quite clear the more stress that I had in my life the more I was affected by the disease. I was reemployed by the same company in different premises as a filing clerk but they then terminated me after 2 years.

Finding support

In the first couple of months following my diagnosis, my daughter and I did a Living with Memory Loss course with Alzheimer’s Australia. Other then this course, there has not been any other services or support. I use to feel sometimes as though no one really understood what I was going through until I met another person with younger onset dementia and my perspective of this disease has changed. There doesn’t seem to be much out there for younger onset and trying to find others with younger onset has proved quite difficult.

Looking for a residential care home

My family and I have not looked into to much end of life planning as I seem to be traveling quite well at the moment. But as I live on my own now, we are concerned how long I can do that for and trying to find facilities that can take me now. The need is more about my safety than anything else, as I do have times of not knowing, but we are unable to find much out there.