Dementia Action Week took place 15th -21st May. This year’s theme was ‘Diagnosis’ and we ran a campaign on Facebook to help raise awareness of Young Onset Dementia.
Our posts were seen by over 80,000 people and for every share they got, Barrowhill Hall donated £1 to Dementia UK. We raised £250!
Young Onset Dementia affects an estimated 70,800 people in the UK and the symptoms occur under the age of 65. The symptoms can be different from those of dementia, which develop later in life, and may include changes in behaviour, language difficulties, and difficulty with co-ordination and movement.
To help people understand more about the condition we highlighted Ali’s story, one of our residents with young onset dementia, whose symptoms began in her mid 50s.
Ali, 61, is a resident here at Churnet Lodge, our specialist household for those living with Young Onset Dementia. Churnet Lodge is a specially designed building and the décor and design are suited to younger people. We understand that dementia can be a challenging condition and our highly trained staff offer the appropriate care for their specific needs. We provide Ali, and all our residents, with the best possible care and quality of life.
Ali’s daughter, Charlotte, says her family found the decision to move Ali into Churnet Lodge a very difficult one. “It was a huge decision for us all,” she says, “and not one we came to lightly.
“Barrowhill Hall have been very kind and welcoming. The grounds are absolutely stunning, and the home is light, spacious and airy, with quiet lounges that are very peaceful.
“Seeing Mum’s relationship with her care team is hugely rewarding and the bond they have with her is so special. Her face lights up when she sees one of her regular carers, Tracey, who knows Mum so well.
“She is so good and it’s so reassuring to have her as our go-to person. Tracey is one of several superstars and they are all so kind to us!”
We know Ali is an animal lover. She spent many years with Jack Russell terriers, guinea pigs and any other animals who needed her and she loves all the furry friends who regularly visit our home.
“It’s important to never forget the person that they were before this awful disease,” says Ali’s daughter Charlotte. “They are still the person you love and you’ll get glimpses of them even when the disease takes hold. Hold on tight to the good times amongst the more challenging ones.”
She describes Ali as a super mum of four who devoted herself to her children, a lovely wife to Jon and a great sister to her beloved Cathy.
“Dementia is a very complicated and confusing disease,” Charlotte explains. “Especially when, like Mum, it presents itself at such a young age. Mum was mid 50s when she started showing signs and it took us a long time to reach a diagnosis. It’s so difficult for loved ones to watch it unfold especially when you know there is no cure.”
Her family have been deeply affected but we’ve been here to help.
“It’s been a huge and devastating experience for us all,” Charlotte says, “but we’ve come together as a family and supported each other on this journey so far. The carers at Churnet Lodge are so kind to us whenever we arrive and provide us with real reassurance that all is well when we aren’t there in person.”
We would like to give a huge thank you to Ali, Charlotte and her family for helping to raise awareness about Young Onset Dementia.