“Mum’s dementia took away everything and left her drinking from a sippy cup. It was heartbreaking”.
Please will you send a gift today, so Dementia Australia can help people like Trent through the devastating heartbreak and loss of dementia?
Christmas is about giving, yet one family will be thinking of the mother who was taken from them. Trent’s mum, Val, devoted her life to her family. She gave her kids a childhood filled with love, laughter and the simple pleasures of life.
When Trent’s sister was born with severe mental and physical disabilities, Val gave up work to become her carer, certain no one could look after her little girl better than she could.
Val was strong, determined, caring and creative – the heart and soul of her precious family.
But dementia took all that away.
When Val was just 55, her personality suddenly changed, leaving her loved ones desperately hurt and confused.
She became very quick to temper. She would start arguments with friends and family and it was so unlike her. She got to the point where she’d cut people out completely if she didn’t like something they did. We just didn’t know what was going on.
As the hidden disease slowly took hold, Trent noticed more and more changes in his mum. She began having minor car accidents, and forgetting how to do things. But Val hid the worst of her symptoms from her family, so they assumed what was happening was just a normal part of aging.
Then Trent’s parents took a holiday, and Val became so distressed on the flight home that she had to be sedated. Realising something was very wrong, Val’s family took her for an assessment.
Trent said “The results were devastating”.
At the hospital they told us that Mum had early onset dementia. I didn't know what that meant. I thought it was when grandma put the milk in the cupboard and the sugar in the fridge, that sort of funny stuff. And then the doctor walks in and says. ‘Val will be dead in a few years.’
It was horrific.
Every day, another 244 families are impacted by a diagnosis, and they need your help.
Your gift will provide crucial information, care and professional support services to people like Val and their families during every step of their journey with dementia. That help can make a life-changing difference to people in what can be some of the most difficult years of their lives.
Within two years, Mum went from being forgetful to not being able to go to the toilet by herself. She was such a strong, proud woman and there she was, unable to communicate, drinking from a sippy cup. To see her like that – I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
On 22 July, her youngest daughter’s birthday, Val passed away, surrounded by her loving husband and children.
As Trent’s family prepare to face their first Christmas without their Mum, they’re thinking about all the other families who are watching dementia take someone they love.
Every day, more families face the heartbreak and loss of dementia. They urgently need guidance, counselling and support to help them cope – and you can help make sure they get it. Please send a gift today.
Your support really does make such a difference.