At the end of last year I had to move house from what I thought was going to be my forever home in York to a village in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
There were many reasons for the move. Firstly, all my money was tied up in my house and due to having to retire early, I needed to move to a cheaper house to release cash as I had no money to make changes that were needed to my York home.
Also, I hope that you’re all aware that dementia is not simply about memory issues; many of our senses can also be affected. One change in mine has been to my hearing. Harsh noises now hurt my ears. I use to live on the main road in York and the only way emergency vehicles could navigate the traffic was by having their sirens blaring. I wasn’t far from the hospital so this use to be continual, morning and night. I use to have to wear specific ear plugs to dull the harshness when I was walking along the street. So moving to a quiet village has helped enormously. My youngest daughter, Gemma, also lives in the village, but I had to make sure I was happy here in case they decided to move. I’ve loved the village ever since I started visiting them here, so knew it was the right place.
However, I hadn’t appreciated how difficult it would be to get use to new surroundings and a new lay out in the house. When I first moved in, the kitchen – which is very compact, had 2 doors for some reason. For days I’d get confused and forget where each door led and I’d end up going round in circles – out of one and in the other. So my remedy for this confusion was to remove the doors. Now I can clearly see where each archway leads and now there’s no confusion.
I also had trouble remembering that new kitchen cupboards existed and would be oblivious as to what was inside each. Many people have suggested see through doors, but that would have cost too much, but more importantly, I find them too busy. You can see everything inside and to me, that looks chaotic. So instead I took photos of the contents and now have a picture on each cupboard telling me what’s inside. And if I change the contents I can simply take a new photo.
I also forget that I have wardrobes with clothes inside. Cupboards simply disappear – I don’t see them so pictures on the door attract my attention and remind me of their contents.
I spent a lot of time taking black and white photos to get the colour contrast right for carpets, furniture and paintwork (so much easier to see if the contrast is right if you take black and white snaps), but I havn’t made many adaptions yet as I see these as necessary when something becomes an issue.
Many people have asked me if I made the right decision to move? Well, to the village, absolutely; to this house?, well, I’ll certainly make the most of it and all the changes I’ve made. However, that decision made me realise that I’m no longer able to make rational decisions when given choice. I used to be able to assess and see the hidden defects and see the pros and cons more effectively. It’s the same when faced with a menu in a restaurant – I pick the first thing I’m familiar with as I can’t make a decision when faced with lots of choice.But I didn’t realise I had this issue at the time – hindsight is a wonderful thing…….
All the talk of the adjustments to PIP payments places more emphasis on the need for financial advice when given a diagnosis of young onset. I’ve got another 6 years before I will get state pension. If the proposed rules to PIP payments mean I won’t get that either, I’m not sure how they think I will remain ‘independent’ and not have a need for support………
No one tells you the possibility of these issues and symptoms when you’re diagnosed. Everyone’s experience can be different but it’s amazing how hearing someone else say “I have those symptoms or, I had that experience’ can be a comfort……..