There is more to dementia than memory loss

This World Alzheimer’s Month Lee Harding wants people to know that there is more to dementia than memory loss. The 56-year-old watched his mum May deteriorate from Alzheimer’s disease following a diagnosis in her early 50s. The diagnosis came after she started showing signs of memory loss and changes to her personality and behaviour.

Lee said: “Mum and Dad moved to Wales from their home in Brighton in around 2002 and that’s when things seemed to start going wrong. I’m not sure whether the move triggered it or not but Mum started having problems with her memory and she became quite withdrawn. She was only about 50 at the time.

“Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and gradually deteriorated over the years. Her memory got worse but the hardest thing was her change in personality. She went from being her normal outgoing self to withdrawn. However further down the line she became even more outgoing than before as she lost her inhibitions.

“Mum had always been fun and well liked but became really selfish and very childish if she didn’t get her own way. She relied on my father and couldn’t do anything on her own.  She would get jealous if Dad went to the laundry room where they lived.”

In 2008 his mum and dad moved back to Brighton to be close to their children and grandchildren, and Lee used to take them out at weekends.

“I’m the oldest and lived closest to Mum and Dad. I would go and see them once a week so I was the one who would bear the brunt of some of her outbursts when she didn’t get her own way. It could be horrific. Most of the time she was fun and we had great times together but there were some really difficult days.”

Sadly, May passed away at the age of 76 in 2018.

Lee said: “I want people to know that dementia doesn’t just involve memory loss, it is so much more than that. If you do one thing this World Alzheimer’s Month please watch and #ShareTheOrange to find out more about dementia and the diseases that cause it. I believe researchers can find a way to put a stop to the heartbreak families like mine go through.”

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