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.
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.
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.
I first married in 1951, to Kathleen, my wife for nearly 40 years. We had a delightful first 30 years approx. when little (!) oddities started to occur. Particularly memorable are an incident when she attempted to park the car in an impossibly narrow space, with resultant considerable damage to our and adjoining cars.
Then she was charged with shoplifting, found guilty and fined – but conditional upon psychiatric assessment. No need to steal; we were financially secure, and I kept an ample supply of the stolen item (gin!) in the house. I was not informed of any diagnosis.
It was quite a conversation she was having with her cat,
Her beaming smile infectious it was on her bed she sat
The purring of the kitten filled the lady’s heart with joy
An intermittent "meow" was heard a friendship to enjoy
The whitest cat with tabby spots the softest feline fur
2004, in Perth, saw Judy disturbed by her inability to remember where items had been placed in our three-storey town-house.
Throughout the year, several doctors told her it was just a sign of old age in a person born in 1930. Judy had never been concerned about her mental health but the continued memory loss prompted consultations with a psychiatrist throughout 2005.