I started working with adults with memory issues in 2016 and it was around that time I noticed changes in my Great Nan Rose. She had always been forgetful and other family members didn’t notice the subtle changes but I did. It started with little things like getting people’s names wrong. This wasn’t uncommon as I come from a large family and there are a lot of names to remember; but eventually she would get the right name. Then she started to forget how things work, where she had left things etc. Other family members put it down to age as at the time she was 93.
Later on that year my Nan had the first of three falls at home. She became more confused when spending periods of time in hospital as this was an unfamiliar environment to her. I spoke to doctors in the hospital about the changes I had noticed prior to her being admitted into hospital and since. They advised it was normal for a person to be confused after hitting their head and they would monitor her.
As at the time I was supporting others to receive Dementia diagnosis I knew the questions doctors asked during a memory test. I asked my Nan what year she thought it was and she said 1922 which was the year she was born. She also got the majority of the other questions wrong. I told one of the doctors at the hospital who investigated further and she was later diagnosed with Vascular Dementia.
Over time she progressively got worse and unfortunately passed away a month ago. Although she couldn’t always remember who I was she said she knew I was a nice person who cared and that meant a lot. We tried to keep a routine and do activities that she enjoyed. She loved to play bingo and go for fish and chips on Sundays. It is important that even after diagnosis people know that they can live well with Dementia.
Support is available during and after diagnosis for individuals and families. If you feel you need support you may want to contact Alzheimer’s Society¬† https://www.alzheimers.org.uk