Welwyn Garden City man shares his mum's heart-wrenching journey with dementia

PUBLISHED: 16:37 16 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:05 17 May 2017

Andy Bluss, Joyce Bluss MBE, and Andy's wife Debra Bluss.

Andy Bluss, Joyce Bluss MBE, and Andy's wife Debra Bluss.

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Families from across Welwyn Hatfield have been speaking out about the impact of dementia to raise awareness of the condition which affects 14,000 people in Hertfordshire.

As it is Dementia Awareness Week, Welwyn Hatfield residents of all ages have spoken out about how dementia has affected the lives of their loved ones.

Dementia Awareness Week, from May 14 until May 20, is supported by the Alzheimer’s Society and is all about getting people to open up and discuss the disease.

The Alzheimer’s Society is a UK charity which provides support and research for those affected by dementia.

Andy Bluss’s mum has lived in St Christopher’s Care Home in Hatfield for the past three years after she was diagnosed with dementia in 2008.

Andy, 55, of Welwyn Garden City, said: “It started off with a little bit of forgetfulness, but mum had an episode in 2008 when she was stuck in a bath for two and a half days because she had had a mini stroke.

“To my dying day, I will regret not going to see her while she wasn’t answering the phone. I kept just thinking she was busy.

“She was living on her own as by this time she had been widowed for 27 years and you just can’t be there all of the time, but their mind needs to be kept active.

“In my mum’s case living on her own made it worse.

“We tried our best to keep things as normal as possible by having people come in three times a day to look after her.

“She would see these strangers as the enemy but I knew she needed them. She couldn’t understand why they needed to be there to help her.”

The semi-retired police officer added: “She fell over and broke her arm and that’s when we decided that she needed to be in 24/7 care.

“The staff are brilliant, but a care home is still the last place you want anyone to end up.

“In an ideal world there would be one-to-ne staff but it doesn’t work like that. My mum pays £4,000 a month from her savings to fund the care that she gets.

“I can come away from the care home crying my eyes out. It’s heartbreaking and soul destroying.

“She’s gone more into a childlike state but she can display physical aggression when someone does something she doesn’t want to do. She tries to bite and spit and you think hang on this isn’t my mum.

“It’s so hard to accept what’s going on. I know I’m fighting a losing battle and it will kill her.”

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