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Willie and Rab

Willie Banks, 70, and Robert Wilkie, 67, met 50 years ago when they joined the Black Watch regiment. They tell us their story of  the “family” bond they formed in the Army and how they’ve kept in touch over the years. Willie explains: “I was diagnosed with vascular dementia back in 2013 when I was 67. To be honest, my dementia diagnosis was just the last in a series of misfortunes that year. “At the time I was employed by the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association as a Quartermaster in the Army Cadet Force and I wasn’t far from off my retirement date when I had a stroke that landed me in the hospital. I was at home recovering from the stroke when I fell in the shower and broke my back which landed me back in the hospital again. “My wife, Nina, was great at supporting me through all this, but I didn’t have any friends come to see me. I’m originally from Fife and I didn’t have many good friends in Dunbartonshire. “After I was discharged from the hospital again I was getting some checks with my GP and he picked up that I was having some problems […]
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The Demi Girls

“It’s special because the girls know what it is like to live with dementia 24/7.” Meet the DEMI Girls, so called because the all care for partners living with dementia. Carol, Ray, Sheila, Megan Carol-Ann and Grace met through the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Resource Centre in Motherwell, where local Dementia Advisor Lorna Hart-Thomson plays a bit of a matchmaker to the people she supports, connecting people with peers she thinks they will hit it off with. On a sunny morning in Motherwell, Carol, Ray and Sheila join us for a chat, along with Carol-Ann’s husband Jim. Carol explains: “We’ve all been brought into the group quite gradually. I think Megan was the first one in. She’s away on holiday today but I think we’d all agree she’s the core of the group. “At first it is easy to get talking to the other carers because you have this huge big thing in common, but after a while you realise that you’ve got loads of other things in common too, outside being married to someone with dementia.” Ray adds: “I think our friend Grace put it best when she said ‘We’re all each other’s comfort blanket’. We just know we’re there […]
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Rosemary and Donald

Rosemary MacLeod explains how friendships and social activities have changed since her husband Donald’s diagnosis. Donald was a diplomat so throughout our lives Donald and I had moved around a lot. Because we were quite nomadic we didn’t really have a close friendship circle in one place. When Donald retired we moved to a beautiful home the Isle of Skye but when he was diagnosed with dementia in 2013 we realised that living so remotely would be problematic so we decided to move back to Edinburgh. We have strong ties to Edinburgh: it is where Donald was brought up; I had worked here after university; our four children where at school here when we were living abroad and one daughter still lives here. Our experience of living with dementia has been quite mixed. There is no doubt about it; some friends do melt away. Donald still looks young for his age (we are both in our 80th year) and is quite physically fit so at first people will tend to assume everything is okay, but you can see the uncertainty in people’s faces when they realise that he is confused. Before Donald retired our life involved going to lots of social events and networking with people we didn’t necessarily know […]
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Beverley and Andrew

Beverley from Edinburgh tells us how she and her husband Andrew are getting by “with a little help from our friends… and family” Three years ago, aged 62, my husband, Andrew, was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. In fact, he had been having difficulties with his memory, depression and anxiety and planning abilities, for many years..at least ten. He had had to retire aged 52, unable to do his stressful and demanding job. The diagnosis was a relief, but also a shock and resulted in a classic grief reaction for both of us. Denial, hope for a cure, anger (why us?), depression then acceptance and getting on with it! There was a little support organised, namely a home nurse (CPN) for 6 months, then an early support worker for a few months. I found Vocal, the Edinburgh Carers Association, offered some practical and emotional help for me. At first, Andrew was able to continue with many activities he enjoyed, like gardening, going for local walks. He had to stop driving, a big blow to him, but was able to go by bus. Andrew has been very open about his difficulties, and he told the neighbours his diagnosis. We have lived […]
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