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
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 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.
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.
My mother has been diagnosed with Advanced Alzheimer's which seems to have a hereditary pre-disposition, 2 of her 3 sisters have also been diagnosed.
Everyday l watch her regressing from us, her family and so l write :
WHY DO I CRY, I CRY BECAUSE :
- I see my mothers mind regressing, she forgets things and people, loses things, hides things, repeats herself, gets frustrated and angry, dresses inappropriately, doesn’t seem to listen.
- her deterioration is happening so quickly.
I help her change her panty pad, shampoo and brush her hair, her dentures soaking out of sight while I provide this care
There are photographs of loved ones sitting neatly on the shelves, provided by her family to remind her of themselves
For she has got dementia what she once knew has gone, things that once were dear to her mean nothing - time moves on
The meadows were purring in tune with my mind, occupied in recognising the perfumes of the night. How alive was I!
The sun finally bowed into the sky on fire, my body crouched under a tea-tree, a tear of joy tickled my nose- “ I exist” I cried out.” Today I am free. A bright new day." In the distance, the humming of the ocean.