Welwyn Hatfield Alzheimer's in focus

ALZHEIMER'S…..DEMENTIA…..words most people find taboo. Mention Alzheimer's to the average person and they make a joke about forgetting something. Or those who have an inkling it's on the way tell you to sshhh…in case someone overhears. But for those dea

ALZHEIMER'S.....DEMENTIA.....words most people find taboo.

Mention Alzheimer's to the average person and they make a joke about forgetting something.

Or those who have an inkling it's on the way tell you to sshhh...in case someone overhears.

But for those dealing with Alzheimer's it certainly isn't funny and can't be hushed up.


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It can only described as a living hell.

Husbands and wives become sufferers and carers. Children and parents switch roles.

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For the whole family - life is never the same again.

The daily battle of getting a diagnosis, knowing where to go for help, where to get financial support, getting to a doctor's appointment or the housework done; the list becomes endless.

While at the same time, caring 24 hours a day, for someone who can be having a great day one minute, and an awful time the next.

This juggling act is a thing most carers find hardest and the sheer frustration between the NHS and social services simply not being able to communicate with each other can make carers want to bang their head against the wall.

But with people with dementia in Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar, and an ever-aging population, help can only be a phone call away.

Support worker Pamela Goodwin from the Welwyn Hatfield branch of the Alzheimer's Society is working in the community supporting families.

From feedback it became clear, carers were keen to build up a support network and meet others in the same situation.

Now monthly meetings take place with the opportunity for carers to learn coping techniques, and get the best and worst advice from those who have been there.

Ms Goodwin said: "They get the opportunity to talk to others and get a sense of where they are in the process.

"They are free to speak their minds."

One carer added: "I have been through 18 months of hell, just to know how to get help."

Another added: "We can talk about things sometimes seen as taboo.

"Last time we had the tissues going round, we all had similar problems."

Meetings are currently taking place in Potters Bar, and a roll-out in Welwyn Hatfield is expected soon, if funding can be found.

To find out more about the disease, where to go for help, or to attend a meeting, call Ms Goodwin on 01707 265326.

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