It is quite difficult to explain, but as soon as we met on the first meeting we were aware of the warmth and sincerity of you and those good people who assisted you. Meeting like minded people who once held positions of responsibility really helped plus entering into discussion with them. On entering the Conference room you can feel the empathy between the people present which immediately makes one feel “ at home”.
When my husband was first diagnosed four years ago we had frequent visits from members of the Community Psychiatric Department, also a visit from a member of the Alzheimer’s Society, then it was a follow up visit to their office once a year, since the onset of the pandemic disappointingly we have heard not a word from either.
So thanks to PALZ we remained in touch and were able to remain in contact with those whom had become more than just acquaintances.
‘My husband, an 84 year old retired chartered accountant, was medically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in March 2018.
As well as having an academic brain he was also, before getting Alzheimer’s, a very practical man. He could repair cars, sort out plumbing problems and rewire a house. He was also a nerd when it came to computers and what he didn’t know about them wasn’t worth knowing – he even built one once!
I don’t even know if I could say when I first had my suspicions but the diagnosis didn’t come as a huge shock. When I look back there were signs; for example if we went out in the car and I said something like “turn left and then take the next right” he would only remember that I’d said “take the next right”. He was always losing his keys, wallet etc and he stopped reading and didn’t complete tasks. If I asked him to get something from the bathroom he would repeat the word bathroom and I now realise he was buying time because he couldn’t remember where the bathroom was. And, most significantly, he stopped using the computer.
After chatting to a neighbour I realised I needed to get help. She is a pharmacist, whose husband works in Mental Health, and she told me there are several medications available to help slow down the progression of the disease and the first step is to contact the GP.
Our doctor did a brief test and then arranged a home visit with the Memory Team who are based in Shrewsbury. They confirmed our GP’s suspicions and prescribed Donepezil. We were also put in touch with the Department of works and pensions and after a visit from them he was awarded an attendance allowance, which is not means tested, and also a reduction in our community charge.
The memory team also brought us lots of leaflets and pamphlets with suggestions for things to do and groups to join but after attending a few we struggled to find anything that met our needs.
But then we discovered PALZ.
We joined in August 2018 and we were made so welcome. Since joining we’ve made lots of new friends from many different backgrounds but all with one thing in common – Alzheimer’s. This connection with other people struggling with the same issues really helped my husband and for once, in a long time, he felt equal.
We look forward to attending the meetings and have so much to discuss afterwards. It’s been an enormous help to me too. I can talk to people who really understand what it’s like to live with someone with the disease. Through PALZ we have made some really good friends who I can call upon in a crisis. We get lots of sympathy from our friends and family but with our PALZ friends we also get empathy.
My husband and I have been married for 53 years and have always treated each other as equals. We both know that he struggles to remember day to day things, but I still see that clever and witty man that I married and love. After all it’s his memory he’s lost not his intellect. Thank goodness the people at PALZ also recognise this.
I hope there will be a time in the not to distant future when other PALZ groups will be rolled out across the country and many more Alzheimer suffers can join a group that treats them with dignity, understanding and respect’
My husband has Dementia, diagnosed 4 years ago. I was very angry at the situation to start with as I had no support for myself and no one to talk to about it! That was until we attended the very first PALZ talk. This is where I met other carers and got on particularly well with a lady called Ann, a Carer herself. We are still great friends to this day and have helped and supported each other immensely. If it had not been for PALZ I would never have had this support and friendship.
Below – a selection of brief feedback given on post it notes at a meeting:-
From the first meeting we met like minded people.
Well organised and no dumbing down
This is just what I have been looking for.
This is the first time I have seen my husband smile in weeks.
Mind stimulating and educational.
Meeting between couples sharing the Dementia experience.