Jude was diagnosed with young onset dementia (Alzheimer’s disease) in 2021 aged 57. She lives in Oxford and is married to Becky. They have two daughters, aged 17 and 19.
Getting a diagnosis
“My partner, Becky, first noticed changes in my behaviour and speech in 2016 and was very concerned. At first I thought it could have been that I was menopausal. We pushed to get an appointment with the GP, and after a lengthy process, I was finally diagnosed with young onset dementia in 2021 aged just 57.
When I first got diagnosed it was devastating. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I couldn’t tell the difference between the symptoms of dementia and grief. We had to tell our two daughters, which was very difficult. We all cried but the girls are very brave and resilient.” – Jude
“One of the complicated things about dementia is that the person with the diagnosis doesn’t always notice the changes in their own behaviour, whereas I really noticed the changes in Jude because I live with her and see her every day.
After we got over the shock of the diagnosis, we were relieved to know what we were dealing with. We knew it would be challenging but that we could face it together.
When you have a dementia diagnosis, it makes you realise what’s important in life. The most important thing to us is that we really love each other.” – Becky
Life after diagnosis
“I’ve come to terms with my diagnosis now and we’ve found a new normal. My whole life doesn’t revolve around my diagnosis – it’s about living life to the fullest. I fill my days with activities I enjoy like swimming, singing in a local choir and volunteering at a foodbank.
Exercise is important to me as it’s something I have control over. Some days I can’t find my words and struggle to function mentally, but I know that exercising helps me to feel fit and strong.
I think it’s incredibly important to keep doing things you enjoy and make the most of life. I think that’s the key thing, and it’s my thing now. It’s who I am and it’s mine.” – Jude
“Jude is an independent woman and it’s important to her that she maintains her independence. She doesn’t need much support and still manages to take part in lots of activities that she enjoys.” – Becky
Support from Dementia UK
“My consultant first put me in touch with Dementia UK and since then I’ve been accessing as much support as I can. It’s been a godsend.
Initially it was really important for me to talk to a dementia specialist about the diagnosis as I found it difficult to talk to my friends and family about it. I felt more relaxed knowing that I had someone to talk to who understood what I was going through.” – Jude
“Dementia UK is amazing. It’s reassuring to know that there are Admiral Nurses to speak to who really understand what you are going through. They understand what we need and hold space for us to share how we are feeling.” – Becky
“I’m grateful that I got the diagnosis because it has allowed me to accept and come to terms with the new me.”- Jude
Becky and Jude
Young onset dementia
We’ve created a section of content about young onset dementia (dementia symptoms under 65) to bring together information and resources that have been created specifically for younger people, that cover the key issues that you may face
Whether you have a question around young onset dementia that needs an immediate answer or need emotional support when life feels overwhelming, these are the ways our dementia specialist Admiral Nurses can support you