World Alzheimer's Month

I love my Mum and my Mum loves me, I know this because she touches my hand and talks to me, she doesn’t always get my name right and sometime she tells me things I’ve done or said, thinking I’m someone else, but I know she loves me.

This is quite a personal blog for me to write, my Mum suffers from Dementia.  On the face of it she looks very much like any other lady in her 80’s with white hair and walking stick.  She dresses nicely, does her hair, wears make up, she enjoys going out for lunch, shopping, seeing and making friends but, and there is a but, her dementia has changed her, not on the outside, not visibly, but inside.  Sometimes she isn’t the mum I grew up with, not the mum I know and love but there is someone else there, someone who can’t remember things, gets confused, worried and, at times, aggressive (because she’s frustrated).  But she’s still my mum.

Luckily we are spending more time with mum as we moved her down to be close to us. She loves to talk about yesteryear and I love to listen. She can remember it like it was yesterday, although the irony is, she frequently can’t remember literal yesterday.  There are times when we break our hearts laughing with each other.  Like the other day when she was talking about, “the round talkie thing, you know... you say “Linda what’s the weather” and it talks to you.. I like that” she said. After a few minutes I worked out it was the Amazon dot and Alexa she was talking about, it made us both laugh out loud.  And there are times it breaks my heart to see her confused, feeling vulnerable and scared.

Mum had a wonderful career in the NHS, going from nurse to senior management, developing and implementing policy and procedures that have help to save life and safeguard children and something I am very proud of.  She has achieved things I couldn’t. She has helped where I can’t. She has cared for where I haven’t the patience.  I’m proud of you Mum and I say to the children to look at Grandma as a source of inspiration, if you put your mind to it you can achieve great things.

Despite her dementia I still find my Mum deeply enriching, she is very supportive of Ruth and I especially with The House of Sorrento and has come up with some excellent ideas, also a few hair-brained ones too, but so have we... But most importantly of all I know she loves me, wants the best for Ruth and I and is always there for us, she fills my heart with joy and love and I wouldn’t change her for the world despite the dementia.

Don’t be scared of mental health, it is heart breaking, there are times where it seems too much, too much hard work, too frustrating but hang on in there, there are times that will fill your heart with joy and make you laugh, especially when you’re trying to work out who Linda is... You haven’t lost the person you love, they are just hidden but hopefully you will find them if even just for a few minutes it’s still worth it.