Call our free Dementia Helpline 0800 888 6678

Fred’s story: "I live with dementia"

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.

Fred looking at a photo of Lynne.

Fred looking at a photo of Lynne

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.

Lynne’s diagnosis

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.  

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.  

Breaking point

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

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.