Thursday 26th February the Comic relief twitter feed will be taken over by people sharing their stories of dementia, sharing the realities of the disease and how they live with it.
I have in my time nursed so many people who suffer this condition. Watched them struggle understanding the world around them, watch them reach to remember their loved ones and in turn watched the tears in the eyes of their families when that recognition doesn’t come and the person they love slips away from them. It is heartbreaking to see and as frustrating as hell that there was nothing we could do!
I remember the lady who had forgotten that her husband had died and her tears every time her family had to tell her what had happened – every 10 minutes – all day!
The RAF bomber pilot, decorated for bravery who could no longer remember how to write his name.
The retired nurse who had spent her life caring for elderly patients, now one of them in a chair unable to walk.
The science teacher who inspired generations of children with his enormous intellect, wandering the hall waiting for his mum to collect him from school.
And there is no cure.
No way to halt or reverse what is happening.
So together with people like The Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project (DEEP) and The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Comic relief is working to connect suffers and their families, to help they stay as active members of their communities and to not just “live” but to “live well”
There are an estimated 850,000 people in the UK with dementia. 850,000 people forgetting their lives and losing themselves. 850,000 families struggling to help and understand what is happening.
And before you scoff and think you have years to before this will happen to you just remember – One in 20 people living with dementia in the UK are under 65 years old. There are over 40,000 people under the age of 65 with early onset dementia in UK, including 2000 people under 40 years old.
Can you imagine? Being told that you one day you will slip away, no longer be able to look after yourself, no longer know the person you love?
Can you imagine the fear and heartache?
Knowing what is to come and being able to do nothing to change it?
So please do show your support, listen to what they have to say #DementiaDiaries – one day it might be you or someone you love!
Photo courtesy of Comic Relief