My name is Wendy and I am 54 years old. Prior to my diagnosis (which was 3 years ago) I was working full-time as a Payroll Officer and I was a sole parent with my 22 year old daughter living at home.
It was in my work place that I first noticed something was not right. I had been in Payroll for 18 years and couldn’t remember how to do back pay or remember the meetings that I had attended. So after becoming quite concerned about what was going on at work I went to my GP of several years.
My husband was diagnosed 4 years ago with Alzheimer’s as a result of my noticing speech repetition patterns developing over a period of a few months. There are some excellent services available to people suffering from this dreadful disease but I feel that there are some areas which need addressing urgently especially in the light of the burgeoning number of cases diagnosed each year.
Michael grew up in the South-West of England, living in the fishing villages of Cornwall and Devon.
He enjoyed an active outdoor life.
A natural ability in art took him to art college, which was then interrupted by his conscription to the British Air-Force, where he was chosen to be a Fitness Instructor. From there he was recruited to be trained in the newly developed Diploma in Remedial Gymnastics, to help rehabilitate severely disabled ex-servicemen.
I was diagnosed with dementia by a psych-geriatrician in Hobart in April of 2008; my diagnosis was dementia probable Alzheimer’s.
She based this diagnosis on my test scores previously given to me by a Neuro-psychologist, the Mini-Mental and other dementia tests. She started me on Aricept that day. I continue to see her on a regular (every 6 months) basis. At those visits, she evaluates any progression of the disease.
For me, Younger Onset Dementia first raised its ugly head in the 1980s when my husband was diagnosed with Fronto Temporal Dementia. He was 52 and died at 66 in 1999.
Four years later my daughter Lisa, then 43, was diagnosed with the same type of dementia. She had become difficult to live with and had separated from her husband and was living with her daughter aged 15 and son 12. Her driving was erratic and she eventually had a driving accident and I found out there was no insurance when I received a bill for $12,500 from the other party’s insurance company.
I write this on behalf of my son whose wife Jodie developed Dementia/Alzheimer’s in her late 40’s after being told her symptoms were menopausal.
Sadly pathology, brain scans and a battery of other testing proved otherwise and we set out on a road thwart with obstacles, joy, discovery, wonder, puzzlement, unbelievable sadness and a whole new learning for all concerned.