Dementia is commonly misconceived as a condition that comes with old age. It is not. It is something we can change with the right teams behind us to fight early signs and put preventative methods in place to help the patient. Dementia; being one of the UK’s leading cause of death; is something this year we are all coming together to tackle, understand and share hope, love and awareness so we can work towards battling it!
Share the orange for my uncles
This year, 2019 I lost my uncle. He was always the life and soul of every party! He was the first and last on the dance floor. He was that one guy that everyone loved and wanted in their lives. He was the uncle that all of my friends talked about years after parties because of him creating so may fond memories. Not one bad memory comes to mind when I think of him and his wonderful ways. This year he left behind so many family members who saw him as their world. The last few years of his life were made up of happy times, but heartache. As time went on, he lost many memories. As the days got shorter, he lost his independence; His memory; His mobility; His ability to eat, but one thing he never lost was his smile.
My uncle lost his battle to dementia after years of fighting. He never lost his spirit or hope, so the one thing important to us is to keep his memories alive. Understanding and tackling the issues head on early in the process can help us fight back against dementia and help our loved ones keep their precious memories.
My other uncle has recently been diagnosed with dementia and we hope we can support and find ways to help him. He is fit, healthy and a wonderful person and we hope to make his battle less strenuous with the support of these movements worldwide, the awareness and wonderful medical teams from around the world who are pushing to find preventative methods and knowledge on the subject.
Share the orange for my auntie
My auntie, who also happens to be my god mother has suffered with dementia for many years now. She is in a care home where she gets consistent care. She has deteriorated so much over the last few years and watching her confusion and discomfort is heartbreaking. She has lost memories of her childhood and sometimes isn’t sure who certain people are, including her own daughters. Due to her condition she has also developed seizures and has had many falls due to lack of mobility and therefore has had bleeds to the brain, causing more damage each time. She’s now lost the use of her legs and the muscles in her throat. She has to have a liquid diet due to her muscles failing her when trying to swallow and she has to have a capped intake of liquids due to her body functions deteriorating.
She is a poorly lady and yet she still remains just wonderful. Just like my uncle (her brother) who passed away, she still has her funny personality and her smile. She makes jokes, sings very old songs and has times where she will pluck a memory out of thin air and it is just beautiful.
We have had so many scares with her health dipping, we thought we were going to lose her on a number of occasions and it has been terrifying to watch her go through. Watching someone lose themselves is deeply saddening. This illness is truly awful and I’m so grateful to see the support going into this cause.
I visit my aunties care home often. It is a pleasure to see the hard working staff and wonderful residents who are full of love, warmth, fun and so much personality.
It’s lovely to see the residents who are able, play games, listen to music, watch television and enjoy time with family and friends with ease. These homes are what help our elderly and those suffering with illness like dementia live as near to independent as possible for the individual.
Although homes are wonderful, when you visit your loved ones you can see some very upsetting situations and circumstances amongst other residents or even your own family member. Those who are suffering with aggressive dementia can be very distressed often, not able to settle and openly express their confusion and lack of awareness to their surroundings. Some residents may even suffer mental illness alongside their dementia and therefore have certain behaviours that can be very heartbreaking to witness.
These ladies and gents are slowly losing their independence, mobility, ability to function normally and possibly their dignity for some. Dementia can sometimes appear invisible to the naked eye, however dementia is very physical too. Loss of muscle function, weakness, fatigue, incontinence, loss of mobility, strained and loss of speech and knowledge; these are just a few of the physical things that dementia puts upon a person.
If we can work together to build a better understanding of this illness, we can work on early intervention and preventative methods.
Our loved ones may forget us as the years go by suffering with dementia, but one thing they do not do is lose their spirit and faith in us, so let’s not lose faith in them. Make a stand today, we can make a difference together.