Dementia has taken over my life. It didn’t just happen to Lynne, it happened to me too.
Fred’s wife Lynne has vascular dementia and is now in a nursing home. Here, Fred shares how his life has been affected by Lynne’s dementia.
Lynne was a primary school music teacher for 35 years and a university lecturer for eight years. During the early part of her teaching career, she was also a semi-professional opera singer. A vivacious person, she loved music and was very well respected in the amateur theatre world.
But that has all been lost. Lynne’s friends, family, fellow musicians and I are missing out by no longer having the old Lynne in our lives.
Dementia didn’t just happen to Lynne, it happened to me too.
Lynne’s diagnosis meant I had to give up my job in the Ambulance service. I cared for her at home for two and a half years. I was getting her up in the morning, dressing her, taking her to the toilet, lifting her.
Fred looking at a photo of Lynne
I knew Lynne was deteriorating. But it didn’t just go from good to bad overnight – it was a long and difficult process. I fought for two years to try and get a diagnosis. When Lynne finally got that diagnosis of vascular dementia, we were able to access more support and I became aware of Dementia UK. I wrote the Dementia UK number on my whiteboard for when I needed it in future.
I finally reached the point one morning when I just couldn’t cope anymore. Lynne could no longer remember any of our conversations, her cognition, sight and hearing was rapidly declining, and she was incontinent.
Fred and Lynne
I realised things were not going to get any better. I reached breaking point, and I knew I needed help.
I walked up to my study, looked up at the whiteboard and there was the Dementia UK phone number. I rang it, and a dementia specialist Admiral Nurse answered the phone. I cried to her for about an hour and a half. It was like everything came to the surface and I broke down.
I had asked for help in the past, but the door had always been closed on me. Dementia UK opened that door when nobody else had.
Moving Lynne to a care home was the most difficult decision I have ever had to make. It was heartbreaking. My Admiral Nurse called Trace, re-assured me that I was making the right decision which made the transition a little easier.
As well as receiving support over the phone, I found the Dementia UK website was a great place for extra information and advice.
Spreading awareness of dementia and Admiral Nurses
I am now a Volunteer Ambassador for Dementia UK and passionate about spreading awareness of dementia and dementia specialist Admiral Nurses.
There aren’t enough Admiral Nurses – we need more of them so that every family that needs their support is able to get it. If I can help just one person on their journey with dementia by supporting this campaign, it will be worth it.