Mary was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia at the age of 61. As a result of her condition she started having difficulty with money – as she forgot how to use it to buy things. She also started to struggle with cooking, as she couldn’t remember how long to cook food. Her behaviour and personality also changed.
Mary is a widow and lives at home with her two dogs, to whom she is devoted. Her children work and have children themselves, but try to support their mother as best they can. They do the shopping for her and have arranged for a local shop to deliver frozen meals, so she always has food. Despite this she often cooks her food and gives it to the dogs, which means she has become very thin, whilst her dogs have become fat.
As a result of her condition she has lost awareness of time, so she often stays up through the night and sleeps through the day. She was receiving support from Social Services three times a week, but as she did not recognise she needed help, she was often out walking her dogs when they visited or would not let them in. She has started to believe that her dogs are in danger in the garden, so she will not let them out when they start to whine and they mess in the house. Mary was referred to the Community Mental Health Team, but she says she is fine and will not accept their support.
As she is not eating well and is becoming socially isolated Mary’s care team say she is becoming ‘at risk’ and will have to intervene shortly.
YoungDementia UK Home’s planned supported living facility would enable Mary to live in her own private accommodation, with her dogs, but with the support of a team of specially trained staff who will protect her dignity, whilst helping to maintain her wellbeing.
*Story dated summer 2014
This story is based on a real example of a person one of our Trustees, Beth Noray, has supported in her role delivering care to people with younger onset dementia, working closely with Social Services. We have changed the individual’s name and some of their personal details so that they cannot be identified.