Life doesn’t end when dementia begins – it changes

Published: 22/05/2019

Dementia is cruel and indiscriminate. Last week, readers may have seen the heart-breaking interview with Laura Borrell on ITV’s This Morning. At just 39 she was diagnosed with frontotemporal degenerative dementia and is now planning a road trip with her husband to ‘make memories’ before the condition worsens.

 
 
 
 
Written by: Ken Oxley  
Alzheimer's Society  
North East & Cumbria  
 

Dementia is cruel and indiscriminate. Last week, readers may have seen the heart-breaking interview with Laura Borrell on ITV’s This Morning. At just 39 she was diagnosed with frontotemporal degenerative dementia and is now planning a road trip with her husband to ‘make memories’ before the condition worsens.

Meanwhile, a national newspaper published an interview with Raymond Briggs, author of The Snowman, who is more concerned with hanging on to memories. The 82-year-old’s coping strategy for his dementia is to make a list of words that act as prompts, which he has written in felt tip pen around his kitchen door.

Memories make us who we are and without them we are lost.

It’s little surprise then that the Alzheimer’s Society view that people can live well with dementia is sometimes greeted with scepticism.

How can anyone ‘live well’ knowing they are destined to lose their grip on everything that is precious to them?

But the truth is none of us, however healthy we may be, know what’s around the corner. Which is why we insist life does not end when a diagnosis of dementia begins. It just changes.

People need coping strategies, support, and understanding – not just from their nearest and dearest, but from the wider community too.

That’s what we’re here for – to guide them through the complex maze of services and benefits and to help them to continue doing the things they love.

We’re also there for relatives, and to raise awareness amongst the wider public through our Dementia Friendly Communities initiative.

Dementia can be a lonely place, but at the Alzheimer’s Society we are here for those affected by it every step of the way.

For more information about Alzheimer’s Society services visit https://www.alzheimers.org.uk.

* Ken Oxley is the Media Officer for the Alzheimer’s Society in the North East and Cumbria.