Sunday, 19 May 2013

National Dementia Awareness Week

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.


Jackie said...

Alzheimers is a part of our family, too, Julie. My husband's mother had Alzheimers for 15 years before she finally went home to be with the Lord. It can be a long and slow goodbye... I do hope that a cure for it is found soon.
Love to you,

Corrine at said...

Good on Julie, thanks for sharing....xox

Heather said...

My mother never had a diagnosis for dementia but with hindsight I think she had it. The thing I was most thankful for was that she asked to go into a home. I would never have suggested it myself but she needed more and more help from us on a daily basis. So many 'children' visiting parents in care homes are in their 70s.

Clare Wassermann said...

And my mum died last year with it. So dreadful. Couldn't eat or drink in the end. Or move or know us or speak. Thank you for the link x

liniecat said...

My mum was misdiagnosed with it i found out too late. Hers was an induced form of it through being prescribed anti psychotic drugs for so many years and their side effects mimicked dementia.
Im so angry with myself that I hadnt questioned more thoroughly exactly what the drugs were doing.
I know now they should have been used for up to 3 months, not 20 odd years.
But having said that, there wasnt the opportunity online, like now, to research and enable us to ask informed questions.
An informative post.........thanks for being brave enough to speak about it - it could be any of us next!

Peneller said...

Well done Julie both for speaking out about this and for taking such good care of your Mum.

Maggi said...

I wonder if there are any of us who have not been touched by this disease. Lovely photo of your mother to remind us of the pleasures that she can still enjoy.

imac said...

Wonderful promotion for this dreadful disease my Darling, well done

pam said...

That was a really thought provoking post - thanks. Alzheimers is so difficult - we learned to live with my Dad's alzheimers through endeavouring to see the humourous side - with young children and a man who was a 'Terrible Two year old' - he had been the most fantastic Dad and that is what we all need to remember in these circumstances.