I’m the first one to make a joke about my ageing brain when I forget something or call my simple mistake a ‘senior moment’
But I’m also the first person to realise that that it really isn’t funny and we shouldn’t joke about it. Dementia broke my mums heart.
Every week she would go down to visit my Grandmother in the nursing home and every week the frail little lady she had become would deny knowledge of her, claiming that her daughter was a child and never recognising mum.
Every week she would sit in the car park outside the home and shed a tear for her lost mum. The vital, energetic woman who brought up 3 children during the war, the woman who took the stairs 2 at a time until she was nearly 80, and the woman famed in the family for her Irish dancing, had become a withered shell of her former self. She didn’t know us, didn’t know where she was and was spoon fed whilst wearing a bib by total strangers and slept in a cot like a child in case she fell out.But she was very old, over 90 when she died,and that sort of thing happens to old people doesn’t it?
You know how it goes, – “she had a good innings”
But what about the man of 55? The vital, clever, funny, active man, looking forward to embarking on retirement? The man known for his high intellect, the man who’s future was a camper van and travelling with his wife, the birth of his grandchildren and so much more.
Did he have a “good innings”? Should his families last memories of him be the same withered body and lack of recognition from their loved one?
No of course it shouldn’t, his grandchildren should have happy memories of time spent with him, his wife should be tutting because now he has retired he is under her feet all the time, and instead he is a memory in a photograph and the house is very big and empty without him.
Dementia awareness week runs from the 19th to the 25th May, Please stop and spare a thought for those who have dementia. Those whose families fall apart. Those who care for a loved one and those left behind at the end, struggling to remember the person they loved before the dementia stole them away.