Friday 23 September 2016

World Alzheimer's Month

I’ve written before about my late great, great, great Aunty Nansi. I loved hear dearly and was privileged to spend many happy summers holidaying at her house in Hereford when I was a child. Every summer we would pack up the car and set off from west Wales to stay at her house or caravan nearby, spending days playing in her summer house in the garden or racing our bikes along the country paths surrounding her home.

Being my great, great, great Aunty she was already in the later stages of her life when I was born and the only way I knew her apart from looking at old photos was with white hair and a face showing years of adventures and laughter. 

Whilst she may have already been considered a senior citizen when I was young she was in great health, apart from the odd ache and pain that comes from a lifetime of hard work, and had a great zest for life. What I loved most and remember ever so fondly of our time spent together was the amazing stories she shared with me from her lifetime - such as the days of hardship then  triumph during the war, her days in London working as a live in nanny and her daily adventures from then.

As she reached her twilight years and I entered my teenage years it was apparent to see age catching up with her and then we started noticing she was suffering from memory loss, had difficulty thinking and struggled with problem-solving. Showing symptoms of dementia she was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s took away the person we loved so dearly. It stole those precious few years of her life from her and from us.

As a family we tried our best to give her the care she needed in spite of the miles between us, but as the disease progressed and worsened along with other health problems she eventually needed round-the-clock care and for her health and well-being she went into a care home.

As someone who has seen the effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia I always support campaigns that strive to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

NRS Healthcare, who are a provider of disability and living aids, are currently running a campaign on social media to raise awareness of Alzheimer's and dementia.

To support World Alzheimer’s month every day during September NRS Healthcare are sharing one interesting fact about the disease on their twitter account @NRSHealthcare as part of a #30DaysofAlzheimers campaign.

As nearly 44 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s or related dementia and it affects so many people - 1 in 14 people over 65 and 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 - I applaud this campaign that not only shows facts about the disease but also how it affects sufferers and their loved ones and carers as well as provide advice on caring for someone suffering from it.

When my great, great, great Aunty Nansi was alive and suffering from Alzheimer’s I witnessed the stress and worry it caused my family. As I have seen first hand how Alzheimer’s also affects loved ones and carers I applaud NRS Healthcare’s inclusion about the affects of Alzheimer's and related dementia on carers, showcasing that it is extremely stressful for them and highlighting the amazing (often overlooked)  work they do.

To find out more facts about Alzherimer’s and related dementia and to support this worthwhile campaign take a look the NRS Healthcare facebook page, the @NRSHealthcare twitter account and their blog post about Caring For Someone With Alzheimer’s Disease which is filled with facts and helpful advice.

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