The ArgusCouple's challenges of living with dementia (From The Argus)

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Couple from Haywards Heath speak out about challenges of dementia on Dementia Awareness Week

The Argus: Couple's challenges of living with dementia Couple's challenges of living with dementia

A couple living with dementia have spoken out about the challenges they face.

Alan and Stephanie Tuddenham are telling their story to mark Dementia Awareness Week, which begins tomorrow.

The pair, from Northlands Wood, Haywards Heath, are backing the efforts of health officials and the Alzheimer’s Society to create dementia- friendly communities across Sussex.

The aim is to ensure those living with dementia can be supported to stay well, live independently and continue to play an active and pivotal role in local life.

Mr Tuddenham, 68, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s just over a year ago.

He said: “I often feel like I’m looking in on family life from the outside, I’m no longer involved like I used to be. It’s quite hard not to be able to play with the grandchildren as I want to, but I just can’t.

“I do not feel like I have a role in life, as I always used to.

“I have lost all of that, I don’t know what life is about for me now. But I have to just pick my feet up and get on with it.”

Mrs Tuddenham, 64, said: “It is important people understand, so they are not frightened of someone with dementia.

“We can be frightened if someone is not behaving in the way they always have, or you don’t understand why they are acting in a certain way.

“Because there is no cure for dementia, I think people find it hard to know how to react.

“Many of the things that people with Alzheimer’s do – it’s not them, it’s the disease showing.

“If someone is acting differently, it’s their symptom, much like someone with a broken leg would walk with a limp. They cannot help it.”

The number of people diagnosed with dementia is rising faster in parts of Sussex compared to the national average, mainly due to the county’s high number of older residents.

Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group clinical director Terry Lynch said: “Only by identifying and acknowledging the challenges that dementia brings to our communities can we have a hope of giving the right care and support to the people that need it. This challenge starts by recognising that people have memory problems, getting help as early as possible and creating a community that supports not just the person with dementia, but their caring and hardworking family and friends.”

For more details about upcoming awareness events and forums about dementia-friendly communities, visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk.

Comments (3)

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5:46pm Sat 17 May 14

Mr chock says...

i always forget when Dementia Awareness Week is .. i am so pleased i read this article “Because there is no cure for dementia, I think people find it hard to know how to react. ..there is no cure for aging and there is really no point in voting green in the Elections May 22 :) who thinks Caroline lucas is doing a good job with Mr kitkat ?
i always forget when Dementia Awareness Week is .. i am so pleased i read this article “Because there is no cure for dementia, I think people find it hard to know how to react. ..there is no cure for aging and there is really no point in voting green in the Elections May 22 :) who thinks Caroline lucas is doing a good job with Mr kitkat ? Mr chock
  • Score: -8

7:21pm Sat 17 May 14

KarenT says...

You shouldn't need to have articles like this. Although with medical advances people ARE living longer, dementia and people losing aspects of their thinking faculty has been around forever. People just need to be aware of elderly people that need help or are struggling with health and mental deterioration, and be more community-spirited and compassionate, and help those people whenever they can, with their day-to-day lives... especially those who have no children or families and no one to help them. It should just be NORMAL! I used to have neighbours, a couple who were in their 80's and clearly struggling to survive - I would do their shopping and help out with various household chores that had become very challenging for them. I ONLY say this because I don't think it's remarkable or deserving of any sort of recognition. It SHOULD be that normal, to just help people who need help, especially the elderly for whom the day-to-day challenges of life that we take for granted as effortless, have become so overwhelming. It should be as normal and unremarkable as going to the corner shop to get yourself a pint of milk. WHY do people need to be reminded to be supportive of their vulnerable neighbours???
You shouldn't need to have articles like this. Although with medical advances people ARE living longer, dementia and people losing aspects of their thinking faculty has been around forever. People just need to be aware of elderly people that need help or are struggling with health and mental deterioration, and be more community-spirited and compassionate, and help those people whenever they can, with their day-to-day lives... especially those who have no children or families and no one to help them. It should just be NORMAL! I used to have neighbours, a couple who were in their 80's and clearly struggling to survive - I would do their shopping and help out with various household chores that had become very challenging for them. I ONLY say this because I don't think it's remarkable or deserving of any sort of recognition. It SHOULD be that normal, to just help people who need help, especially the elderly for whom the day-to-day challenges of life that we take for granted as effortless, have become so overwhelming. It should be as normal and unremarkable as going to the corner shop to get yourself a pint of milk. WHY do people need to be reminded to be supportive of their vulnerable neighbours??? KarenT
  • Score: 6

1:01am Sun 18 May 14

mummyof4 says...

I'm a dementia friend , my sister works with young dementia patience and its not a nice thing , one lady turned 45 the other week and she has dementia ..... People need to understand about this disease and understand what you can do to help people with it.
Become a dementia friend, its worth it
I'm a dementia friend , my sister works with young dementia patience and its not a nice thing , one lady turned 45 the other week and she has dementia ..... People need to understand about this disease and understand what you can do to help people with it. Become a dementia friend, its worth it mummyof4
  • Score: 2

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