I moved to the Island over 20 years ago, after working in Executive Assistant Roles in Central London for Management Consultants, Insurance and Reinsurance companies, Private Hospital and Hotels. On arriving on the Island, I took a role setting up a Mencap office on the Island and stayed for 10 years. I then worked for a couple of years for the IW Council for their Children in Need Team. After learning a lot about the brain and behaviour through my work at Mencap I was delighted to take a role with the Alzheimer Society and worked there as a dementia support worker supporting families and people with dementia in community for over 5 years.
I joined the Alzheimer Café IOW in 2017 and I believe I have grown with the role! I have learnt so much about dementia over the last 12 years through various training courses and speaking to Carers and of course supporting my mum.
My mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2018 and lived alone in Yorkshire. It has been a very difficult for our family supporting someone with dementia from afar. We arranged daily care, but this wasn’t enough. Mum didn’t know where she lived if she went out, got lost, went shopping and bought duplicate food items but not items for meals, telephoned constantly in an anxious state, however, she was adamant that she wanted to remain in Yorkshire rather than move to live with any of the children (4). She moved to a residential home 5 years ago, which has been a blessing. She is happy, looked after, safe, and the family don’t have the worry that we had when she was living alone. Obviously, I see a big decline when I visit but she still knows us four children, gets mixed up with how old the grandchildren are and what they are doing, and doesn’t remember that she has great grandchildren. My brother now lives nearby, and he and one of my sisters visits during the week and each weekend. Myself and my sister in the South visit as often as we can.
My experience working in ‘dementia world’ and all the training about dementia has been so valuable, however the emotional side has been very difficult to deal with from afar at times, but I believe it has helped me support others in similar situations and I feel privileged to be involved with the Alzheimer Cafés.