Home Health Alastair Stewart: 'Dementia has transformed my life but family are my rocks.'

Alastair Stewart: 'Dementia has transformed my life but family are my rocks.'

Over 900,000 people live with dementia in the UK who are supported by 700,000 family carers.

It costs the UK economy billions every year, and yet, it’s not the priority it should be.

Let’s be crystal clear – dementia is the biggest health and social care issue of our lifetime.

One in three people born in the UK today will develop dementia. Its impact is felt far and wide, cascading from the people, like me, who live with the condition and our families, to the NHS and social care, all the way to frontline services.

My wife of 45 years, Sally, first noticed that something was amiss in 2022 when I could no longer read the time on an analogue clock, nor tie my laces or fasten my belt.

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Following doctors’ orders, I’ve quit smoking, given up drinking, walk our two dogs twice a day and continue to read as much as possible to give my mind a workout and help manage my symptoms.

Looking after our two wonderful grandchildren is also a wonderful tonic.

Sally and our four grown-up children have been my rocks, both before and since my diagnosis.

It’s incredibly heartbreaking to see Sally, not only my wife of over forty years, but the mother of my children and my best friend, slowly assume the role of a ‘carer’, but that’s what she’s becoming. I’m increasingly dependent on her.

But there’s no escaping it, dementia is life changing, and that’s why I’m supporting Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Action Week.

The charity is calling on the Government to urgently prioritise dementia diagnosis to help families avoid reaching costly, avoidable crisis points.

Why? It’s estimated that one in three people don’t have a diagnosis and families are bearing the brunt of all dementia costs.

New research by Alzheimer’s Society has revealed the cost of dementia care in the UK has hit £42 billion per year and could soar to £90 billion by 2040.

Yet only 1.4 percent of current dementia healthcare spending is allocated to diagnosis.

These eye-watering numbers deliver one undeniable truth: the Government must make dementia the priority it needs to be.

Only then, and only together, can we end dementia’s devastation and create a better, brighter future for all.

I cannot stress the importance of getting a diagnosis enough; it’s the key to unlocking care, support and treatment – something which has made a massive difference to me, my future prognosis and my family.

If you’re worried about yourself, or someone close to you, check your symptoms today using Alzheimer’s Society’s symptom checklist.

Visit alzheimers.org.uk/checklist or call the Dementia Support Line on 0333 150 3456


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