My father had vascular dementia for approximately the last 19 years of his life, which began when I was just 12 years old.
As a family we saw it all during these (almost) two decades, from experiencing NHS services, hospitals and care homes (including living under the failed care home provider Southern Cross), through to the day-to-day reality of watching my father living valiantly with a disease that would eventually lead to his death.
The challenges faced by each area of the healthcare system in coping with dementia, and their successes and failures, are intrinsically entwined in dad’s life. Like so many before him and sadly so many since, dad’s diagnosis was perilously delayed, and from then it was a rollercoaster ride through the progression of the disease to finally how end-of-life care was provided in his last few days.
There are numerous permutations in how dementia, in its many forms, manifests itself. As well as living through dad’s dementia, I have met so many other wonderful people living with a form of dementia, gaining huge insight into their world, as well as confronting the challenges faced by their loved ones and the many carers and professionals who work in this specialised field.
Dad’s years with dementia ended in April 2012, but for me the quest to provide support and advice to those faced with similar situations, inform and educate the wider population, promote debate, and campaign for improvements in dementia care and changes to the care system in general goes on.
I hope that you will join me regularly on this blogging adventure, interact and engage, and most of all find a greater understanding of dementia within these pages.
Until next time...
You can follow me on Twitter: @bethyb1886