Sunday, 20 May 2012

Alzheimer's Awareness Week

This week from 20-26 May is Alzheimer's Awareness Week in the UK.  Alzheimer's is the most common of a group of diseases that cause changes in the brain, followed closely by vascular dementia.  My mother-in-law had Alzheimer's for several years before she died and this awful disease laid waste to her brain with devastating consequences.  After a stroke in 2010 my own Mum, as I have spoken of here, now lives with vascular dementia and we have to watch and support her as she struggles to continue to make sense of the world around her. 

By 2021 there are predicted to be over one million people living with Dementia in the UK (currently there are 800,000).  The figures for the United States are even more frightening where currently 5.6 million people are living with the disease. 

The positive message is that life can still be meaningful living with this disease and my Mum still keeps her sense of humour and enjoys her time with her family, especially with the newer members :-)  


I have to admit that I sometimes think of the dementia before I think of the person and this is a good time to remember that my lovely Mum is still in there and is now sweeter than ever in her confusion.  Happily she still has her sense of humour but it would be lovely if she still had her independence.

Beth, whose father suffered from Alzheimers for 19 years from when she was 12 years old, has just started a blog to continue raising awareness of this terrible disease so please go and give her your support.  

PS The little boy in the photograph is my brother and the girl is, of course, me.  We'd have been aged about 5,(me), and 4 or thereabouts.

9 comments:

imac said...

A very moving post, my sweet.

Clare Wassermann said...

Yes I'm with you. My Mum is also completely stricken xxxx all the best - I know it's hard xxxx

Heather said...

My Mum was never diagnosed but she was certainly very confused towards the end of her life.
A lovely family photo - it is wonderful that your Mum has her sense of humour to help her cope, and the love and support of her family.

Bella Gingell said...

So sorry to hear you are having such a time.

Thank you for sharing that lovely photograph(the little boy looks great).

Lesley said...

Lovely photo, Julie. It's good to remember them as they were and to know that they're still in there somewhere. xx

Linda said...

You know I'm totally with you on this subject Julie. Looking back, I just wish we'd been properly prepared for what was to come with Dad. Over the past couple of years though, I think everyone has become better informed ...which is a great step forward. You are coping really well Julie; all credit to you.
Lovely photo.....
XX

Jackie said...

My husband's mother died of Alzheimer's. It was a long goodbye....

Angela said...

Such a beautiful photo that obviously holds loving memories for you. It is heart warming to read about the happy times you have with your mum so often you hear of all the down sides with dementia.

jan said...

Thank you for your kind comment. I love your photo, dementia is such a terrible disease, I'm a nurse and some of the people we visit especially in care homes have dementia and it can be very sad and difficult for the persons family to deal with.