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Hannah and Neil’s story
My husband Neil and I met when we were working for the police. We have two daughters, who are 10 and 11, and we all live in Berkshire. Neil was always a very hands-on father – he used to look after the girls on Thursdays and weekends so that I could return to work. The girls loved him taking them to the park with visits to the café for hot sausage rolls afterwards.
Changes with Neil’s memory
Neil hasn’t always had the best memory and it never posed a problem until his boss saw that he was struggling at work. I just put it down to stress at first. However, there was one point when he couldn’t even remember that we had made a decision around moving house, despite all the house viewings that we had done.
The GP referred us to a Memory Clinic where he was diagnosed with young onset Alzheimer’s at 51, five years ago. It was soon after that that we were introduced to my Admiral Nurse, Lizzie, who still supports me on a regular basis. She helps me understand why Neil behaves the way he does and to be more empathetic. She’s also been amazing in helping our two girls understand the diagnosis.
Caring for Neil
Neil is now unable to look after himself and seeing my two girls having to take on the role for him is really heartbreaking. They take him out for a walk sometimes so I can get a bit of peace and quiet.
Lizzie still supports me on a regular basis. She helps me understand why Neil behaves the way he does, and to be more empathetic. I can call her when I need advice, and she listens and understands what I’m going through. She can give us tailored advice because she has got to know us as a family. We are passionate about spreading the word about the amazing care Admiral Nurses provide.
I gave up work at Christmas so that I could look after Neil. My lockdown I would say started then. The coronavirus has given people a glimpse into the lives of dementia carers. All the things which people have to consider when looking after someone with dementia are now experienced by the wider population; normal support networks crumbling down, not being able to do anything impromptu and spending long periods indoors.
What I miss before dementia, before being caught up in carer lockdown, is having a chat with my husband and having a laugh. I miss doing the Telegraph crossword with him in the morning over a coffee. I miss being able to go to work, and I miss being able to go out in the evening without having to worry about things. I miss my husband.
How we can support you
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Young onset dementia
Information to help you to find out more about life with the condition and how to adapt after a diagnosisRead more
Looking after yourself as a carer
Information and advice from Admiral Nurses on looking after yourself as a carerRead more