A personal experience with dementia has motivated a woman from Biggleswade to sign up for this year’s Bedford Memory Walk.
Michelle Freeman’s mother, Olga Laurence, is living with mixed dementia.
The 81-year-old still lives at home with her husband David, but Michelle says the condition has completely changed her parent’s lives.
She said: “My dad is now my mum’s full time carer which can be hard on him. He has to do the cooking and cleaning for her so it’s a bit of a role reversal.
“Mum is also in a wheelchair which makes everyday activities more of a challenge.
“Dad does very well though, my mum is French and my Dad drove them to France to visit my Aunt, who also has dementia. No small feat considering he’s 75 as well.”
Olga was diagnosed with the illness in May 2012. She had been having memory problems and would forget what she was doing or where she had put things.
There was one thing in particular that became a major issue for her.
“Mum has diabetes and became unable to inject herself. She would keep forgetting if she had done it or not, which of course was a major health concern, now Dad does it for her,” said Michelle.
The diagnosis was very quick and since then the family have turned to the Alzheimer’s Society for support and information.
Olga and David also had visits from a dementia adviser.
Michelle says her dad is looking at the carers support group and feels it could be very beneficial for him.
Now the family are keen to show their support for the charity and hope to raise money by signing up to do the Memory Walk in Bedford on Saturday, September 6 at Priory Park.
Michelle, who works as a Business Analyst, said it’s going to be a family affair.
She said: “I will be walking with my husband and two children, who are four and six.
“I am hoping my parents will walk as well, if Mum is up to it, and my niece and nephew.
“We are doing the 2km walk as it will be better for my mum and my young children.”
Memory Walk is the Alzheimer’s Society flagship fundraising event, last year it made more than £1.6million to support people living with dementia and their carers.
To sign up to take part in the walk and to get some handy fundraising tips for the event go to www.memorywalk.org.uk