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Carlo and Patricia

78 year old Carlo from Bridge of Allan is kept active by his friends and family. We caught up with Carlo’s wife Patricia to find out how they stay connected to their friends. “Carlo was diagnosed with dementia in 2010, aged 71, while he was still in the early stages of the illness. There was a history of dementia in Carlo’s family – his mother and three of his sisters were all diagnosed – which meant that we were alert to the symptoms. “The way Carlo’s diagnosis was delivered wasn’t great and understandably he became quite depressed following on from that. Thankfully he overcame that and we’ve kept very active. “At the beginning we didn’t really tell many people outside of the family. It wasn’t really necessary because he was still pretty well. As things have changed we’ve let more people know.” “Carlo got really into squash in his mid-30s and used to play competitively all over Scotland. He’d kept up the sport and had a weekly game going with a group of friends. Recently his friend Douglas moved away to Dunfermline and we had sort of assumed that would be the end of playing squash, but Douglas has been […]
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Paul and Jim

69 year old Paul from Helensburgh shares fond memories of his friend Jim, who passed away with dementia in November last year. I met Jim on my first day at my new primary school, St Laurence’s. We’d have been about 7 at the time. It was back in the 1950s when the new schemes were being built and folks from all the old tenements were being resettled. Jim had been in the school for a while but it was my first day and there I was standing alone in the middle of the playground, not knowing anyone and Jim just walked up to me and asked if I wanted to play. That just sums Jim up perfectly – he was a really friendly guy and always had time for people. So that was that and we were firm friends from there on in. Jim left school when he was 16 and joined what was then the Post Office Telecommunications, which became BT. I stayed on at school and went to the University of Glasgow to study physics. We were both still living in Glasgow and remained firm friends. We’d sneak Jim into the Student Union on a studious student’s membership […]
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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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