Dementia Awareness Week in May

Published: 27/04/2015

Bluebird Care Wandsworth is supporting the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Awareness Week from 17-23rd May.

Dementia is not a natural consequence of aging. It is a cruel disease that destroys brain cells. Gradually losing the ability to remember, plan, use language and control our bodies is a frightening and confusing experience. It can cause fear, anxiety and a feeling of loneliness. Therefore, to help those who suffer with dementia and their families, the Alzheimer’s Society are hosting a Dementia Awareness Week from 17-23 May.

The Dementia Community Roadshow bus that tours the country giving information, advice and support to members of the public, will be will be coming to St George’s Hospital, Tooting on Tuesday 5th May from 10am – 4pm. They are encouraging as many people as possible to pop along and say hello.

It can be difficult to understand what it is like to have dementia and the impact this has on family and loved ones. We’ve found some real life stories on the Alzheimer’s Society website and below is Bob and Jo’s story:

Bob: Jo is my wife and she is fantastic, and you know she is very good at keeping me reasonably under control.

Jo: We met through a mutual friend and of course we were in London at the time.  Because he came from Yorkshire we had something in common to start with. I had only just gone down South and it was really nice to meet a young man from the North.

He's always been a very good driver and very good at finding his way to places with a marvellous sense of direction.  When that started to go I sort of knew inside that it was going to be serious. It took quite a long time to get a diagnosis from first seeing our doctor.

We were told very plainly at the memory service that he was in early stages of Alzheimer's, that it was incurable and that it was progressive and they told us that nearly straight away which was hard to take but it was necessary.

Bob: We knew where we were, we knew where we were at, we knew what was ahead of us and it was then a question of, well we can pack it in and go home or we can tackle this. There are things that, things that I know, and that I know I know, but then when it comes to the crunch I forget them. I'm just frustrated, I think is the main word.

Jo:  He is a really considerate man, he hates to hurt me and make me upset but it does make me upset. We've been married for about 48 years now and I miss the companionship more than anything else.

Bob: If things are not going smoothly then you get, I sort of get uptight about it, I don't think I get violently upset or violently antagonistic at all. It upsets me to think of the effect I am having on Jo.

Jo: We still have a cuddle but when I am cross and tired I pull back and I am finding it's quite necessary sometimes to distance myself because Bob is more like a child now and not my husband. He's still very dear to me, I love him dearly but it's different.

Bob: You know life is harder anyway irrespective of the situation, life is harder when you get to a certain age.

Jo: We are so used to each other, we've been together so many years there isn't any discomfort or embarrassment and as a matter of fact I've got my own bedroom.

So I made a room nice for me and now I sleep in it, but last thing at night every evening I get in to bed with Bob and we have a read together, something really light and funny and in bed when Bob's reading to me, because he does the reading to me, it's just like old times.

Bob: We are both having to work a bit harder on it. I know I can't cure it but I shall make sure that, you know, I'm not going to give in.