Living alone with dementia…

Chris and Jayne’s Panorama programme brought home the difference in the experience of living with dementia that a couple experience as opposed to someone living on their own.
People living alone are missing that extra comfort of a  ‘back up brain’ (as the wonderful Kate Swaffer describes her husband Pete). When things go wrong, or we forget, there is no one there to help. We don’t have that security of knowing someone will help if we get lost in the house or forget where something is….We don’t have the support of someone to cut up our food if we can no longer coordinate the use of a knife and fork.
Does this make us more inventive in the strategies we find?
Doe this make us more apt to cope better as we have to find a solution?
For some of us, that’s the case. I like living alone and would now find it difficult to have someone in the house moving things around.

However, how many more people living alone with dementia, both diagnosed and undiagnosed, don’t understand what’s happening to them…..?

How many don’t realise they’re having a problem…….?

How many become isolated and depressed because they no longer have the confidence to leave the house…….?

Where services are scarce, how many are ‘lost’ in the system……?

How many are too afraid to ask for help for fear of being put in a home..?

How many end up in care homes before it’s necessary because no one has been there to help them find ways to cope and explain to them what’s happening……..? They may only become visible to services, if they exist, when a crisis arises.

Maybe we need more resources in order to enable us to remain in our own homes because we don’t have anyone living with us to help. Makes me even more sad that my own region has abandoned me to my Gp because there are no resources for people under 65. My GP has 10 minutes to assess my situation………how many more people are out there living alone who don’t have access services or know where to get help? Yes, I have my daughters nearby, but Gemma quite rightly asked me after Chris’s programme – how will we know when you’re lost in the house or struggling?

Such a sad situation and a realisation that so much more has to be done for people living alone with dementia. More research into the best care and support needed for people living alone. A staring point would be knowing how many people are living alone – but specifically by age. The Alzheimers society has estimated that a third of all people with dementia actually live alone – so are a third of resources going into supporting them? Me thinks not……..

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About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

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