Wendy has Young Onset Dementia. She was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 40 but started noticing the differences in her behaviour when she was 35.
The first thing Wendy noticed was that she was becoming very forgetful – she would regularly forget the names of people she had known for years. She also noticed an impact on her communication, it felt like her speech was ‘back-to-front’ – others noticed this change too. Her husband, Paul, would ask her if she had been drinking.
When the neurologist diagnosed Wendy with Young Onset Dementia she was just initially relieved she wasn’t ‘crazy’. She worried about how to tell her family and realised she would have to make some changes at home.
Some of the changes that have helped have been really small, her husband, Paul, texts regularly throughout the day which helps Wendy to stay on track. Her daughter and granddaughter also help her know what she needs to be doing next.
Wendy can get tired easily but she just goes for a lie down when she needs to. Her family know she will be better for the rest so encourage her to do it. On a couple of occasions Wendy left a fork in some food she was microwaving so now they have a microwave which safely microwaves metal and everyone feels much safer!
Since her diagnosis, Wendy has accessed a wide range of local support. This includes help from her GP, Community Mental Health Nurse and her support worker, Louise.
She attends a weekly Young Onset group every Wednesday. The group includes people from all walks of life who are all in the same boat and understand the impact that dementia can have. They have great discussions, do lots of activities and most importantly have lots of laughs! Wendy had initially been anxious about joining the group but her nurse offered to go along with her and once she had got chatting she wished she’d gone before!
Because of the support she has been able to access in Doncaster, Wendy has been able to keep her independence. She sometimes feels that she could do certain things without having her family or support worker with her but the extra confidence she has from having them there is priceless.
On occasions where a lack of other people’s awareness and understanding about dementia has caused an issue for Wendy. Having her Support Worker or a family member there to explain about the small ways in which people can help make her life easier has really made a big difference.
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