Dementia is something my family are all too familiar with. My Grandad was diagnosed 5 years before he died from an infection that caused blood poisoning. To say those last 5 years of his life were hard is an understatement both for him and us – his family. I loved my Grandad as much as any Grandaughter should and he returned that affection to myself and his 50 other Grandchildren, and I really hated how he had been taken away from us. Looking back I think the last two years of his life were probably the hardest on us all as he had no memory of where he was or who any of us were. He didn’t even really know who my Nanna was even though they had been married for over 50 years. He called my Nanna “Mam” and called out for her all the time if he needed anything. Grandad was disabled from a young age after contracting Polio as a child. But he remained reasonably active until several small strokes left him unable to walk and bed bound. My Nanna died the year before my Grandad and he was very confused as to where she was and why she didn’t come when he called her, this was very heartbreaking to witness and even more so for my children as they didn’t understand why Grandad was asking for someone who was no longer here. We are still unsure as to why he called her Mam as we don’t know if he thought he was a young child again or other than that she was someone who he could rely on and trusted to help him.
My family aren’t the only ones to have been effected by Dementia either as Matthew’s Grandad also suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease. I never met his Grandad as he died before Matthew and I met but from what I have heard he was a lovely man until he became ill. Recently Matthew’s Great Auntie was also diagnosed with Dementia but she sadly died not long after her diagnosis.
The term ‘dementia’ is used to describe the symptoms that occur when the brain is affected by specific diseases and conditions. Symptoms of dementia include loss of memory, confusion and problems with speech and understanding.
Some facts about Dementia:
This week is Dementia Awareness Week. You can help raise awareness by joining in the conversation over on Twitter make sure you use the hashtag #talkdementia and help spread the word. Alzheimer’s Society is a registered charity providing support, advice, guidance and resources to both people with dementia and their carers. To find out more visit our website http://www.alzheimers.org.uk