When dementia happens, it happens to your whole family says 11-year-old Annie

19th May 2014

“The day my Nana was diagnosed with dementia was the day we ALL got it… but she’s still amazing!” says 11-year-old Annie.

Stigma, lack of knowledge and understanding, and fear of dementia, directly impact the lives of people living with dementia. This week, Dementia Awareness Week (18–24 May 2014), seeks to change that by encouraging people to speak openly about dementia. Through our Dementia Without Walls research programme, JRF is seeking to challenge attitudes, language and imagery in our society that reinforces the stigma, isolation and exclusion that people with dementia tell us they experience. With these thoughts in mind, our guest blogger, Annie, writes about her own experiences of living with dementia, in her relationship with her Nana, Liz.

Sometimes grown-ups don’t understand the important stuff.

I didn’t know what dementia was. I hadn’t heard of Alzheimer’s.

Lots of people think dementia only affects much older people in their 80s and 90s. My Nana was 58.

The day Nana was diagnosed was the day we ALL got it. Families get dementia not just the person with it.

Together is the only way forward. Dementia is a TEAM game.

Nana still looks the same. We still sing in the street, walk Lulu the crazy greyhound, laugh together, feed the birds, dance to the radio and have girly sleepovers where I am allowed to stay up much later than Dad lets me and watch programmes I want to watch, no matter how dreadful.

Since Nana was diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s we know what we are dealing with. Early diagnosis is so important. You can only help somebody if you KNOW what the problem is.

But life does not stop with Alzheimer’s. Since then Nana has danced on stage at “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”, kissed Bryan Ferry and we have visited New York together as a family.

Nana is still amazing. Nana is still fun. Nana can still ice-skate backwards.

Nana is still my Nana.

But Nana forgets… So I REMEMBER.