Today marks the start of National Dementia Awareness Week the aim of which is to get people talking about Dementia and Alzheimers which directly affects over 800,000 people in the country today, with many more people likely to develop it as the population ages. As Beth Britton describes most eloquently on her blog, dementia casts a net throughout a network of everyone connected both currently and throughout their lives, of the person living with dementia.
We all have our own fears about developing this condition and shy away from obtaining a diagnosis, especially early on when there may be help available. You may be aware that my DH and I have direct experience of living with dementia as both our mothers' developed the condition. In both cases I think it's safe to say that the condition was well advanced before we, as carers, joined all the dots and realised what was going on. My mother's dementia seemed to hit us out of the blue when she suffered a stroke but when we had time to look back and think about things I realised that things had not been right for several years. Mum had been gamely coping with memory problems and difficulties in communicating and understanding and we had not recognised the signs. Ironic since we had just gone through more than 5 years with my mother-in-law's experiences of Alzheimers. You would think we would have noticed and helped mum ask the right questions at the doctor's but sadly distance prevented us making the connections that might have got her help sooner. Our heads were in the sand.
Beth Britton's blog is excellent and she speaks with great candour and honesty about her experiences and also provides practical thoughts on living with dementia. If you do nothing else check out my links and be aware. Alzheimers is a frightening condition and we all shy away from facing it but there is hope for managing life with dementia and there is still room for smiles and laughter.