Living Well With Dementia - Rose's Story

Published: 22/05/2019

Something we teach in Dementia Friends sessions is that you can live well with dementia. It is also a fact that life does not end when dementia begins. Everyone has a story and although the dementia affects a person in various ways, their story is very important. We recently teamed up with Rose, who has been told she has the beginnings of dementia, to deliver a short presentation about her story. Her story was found to be very encouraging and we are delighted to share it here.

Something we teach in Dementia Friends sessions is that you can live well with dementia. It is also a fact that life does not end when dementia begins.

Everyone has a story and although the dementia affects a person in various ways, their story is very important.

We recently teamed up with Rose, who has been told she has the beginnings of dementia, to deliver a short presentation about her story. Her story was found to be very encouraging and we are delighted to share it here.

“My name is Rose and I come from Rhodesia, Zimbabwe. I moved to England to do Care Work in 2009 and my life has been filled with many ups and downs.

In Zimbabwe I worked in a government department, got married had two children and after a while I got divorced. After this, I joined the British South African Police and life was never dull! I donned a uniform, drove into the townships and carried a gun. I cooked for the troops on the border and lived as they did.

I manned a radio and had a reason to drink which led to me being an alcoholic. As long as I wore my uniform, I was treated to drinks so I drank too much. I have now however, been sober since the late 80s and regularly spend time supporting those who have alcohol addictions.

Earlier in 2015, my way of living changed and I had to give up my job in care as I myself needed care. I had lived in the same flat since I arrived in England which was at the top of a flight of 29 steps. I enjoyed the freedom of waking up to the sound of birds, seeing the trees which changed colour and lost their leaves.

Despite this, I was not well and had severe pain from a previous injury. I was prescribed a pain killer containing morphine and my life changed. I asked for the help of a friend in administering the medication but it did not work.

One day, I fell down the stairs to my flat and was found on the ground by a neighbour. I spent a month in hospital during which time I was given some bad news, confirmed on my discharge notes. I was told “Sorry Rose, you have the beginning of Dementia”.

To begin with, I thought the doctors were joking. I was forgetful and had lost weight, but I was not loosing it. Yes, I thought it was a joke! I know I forgot to do things and even got lost at Victoria Station to pay a bill and forgot an appointment.

I sometimes forgot what I was looking for; where my purse and handbag were and did not know what I was doing on a bus going to town. I started writing everything down and make cheques out which my daughter checked.

We laughed about it, but when I put the iron in the fridge and milk under the stairs I asked myself “what is wrong with me – it must be as I have overworked myself.” It definitely can’t be dementia! However, when I was told in the hospital that it was possible, I panicked and Social Services came to my assistance.

I was house bound and had food brought in to me. Carers visited to support me, but I felt a bit trapped at home. However, I have always loved a challenge so I accepted an invitation from the Baptist Church to attend their day centre. It was also a chance to meet new people, listen, learn and eat well.

When I came out of hospital I had lost a lot weight not due to the cooking of people who were caring for me, but because I was not interested in eating. After my diagnosis however, I was determined not to give up so forced myself to carry on and get involved where I could.

I am now back to a normal weight and enjoy every moment. It was also suggested that I move home and I now have. That was quite an experience!! I have also learnt how to use a computer and am living in a ground floor flat.

My daughter tells me she is proud of me and how well I am coping.”

For emergence advice and support, you can contact the 24 Hour Kent Dementia Helpline on 0800 500 3014

You can find out more about the specialist dementia services we provide here