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.
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 early 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.
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.
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.
Find out more about Hannah and Neil in their video here.