Families who live
We are a group of people who understand what life is like and can draw upon the knowledge and experience of the members to produce a calendar of events for couples and family members to enjoy together.
This includes meeting together to pursue activities members enjoy, visits, hobbies and interests, lunching together or simply sitting chatting over a cup of tea.
Partners and relatives have very different feelings and experiences when their partner/loved one is first diagnosed with dementia.
Our group have shared some of those feelings:
It was when he turned to me for the fifth time and asked where his keys were, that I knew something was wrong.
She is a lovely cook... was ...she always cooked and shopped... that’s me now ...I am going to have to do that now.
Life will never be normal again… what’s normal? This is now normal.
The irony is she forgets, I never forget, not for a second.
I have worked hard for the life we have, our home, holidays and friends. Now it is all disappearing.
I just feel exhausted and alone, dreadfully alone.
I want a companion; I want her back.
I relied on him to drive, now I feel trapped in every sense.
I know nothing about our finances or computers, I have never done that side of things.
I always go to football with Andy, will I be able to do that now?
We have spent our whole lives together, I am feeling so lost.
I don’t want to talk about it, I just want to be with people who get it, who understand… can be there … with me.
We are both experiencing a profound sense of loss.
I can only give the support she needs if my loss is acknowledged and supported.
I cannot care for him if no one cares for me.
She is losing her memory and her mind, I am losing my life partner and the life we knew together. It’s not a competition, it is equal in its significance.
So many of us feel angry and frightened when faced with the challenges of a loved one with dementia. We are told they can live a good life, it means living in the moment. How do you do that? Can we live a good life too?
Other Halves offers friendship and understanding. We plan social events together, we want to make the most of our time together… with all its difficulties.
I am Jackie.
I have a partner who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I have found there is very little support to help partners to deal with the burden; there is plenty of advice and information, plenty of understanding of dementia sufferer’s needs but little to help carers with their needs.
It can be very isolating and depressing saying goodbye to the life we knew together and tedious living with someone who has a decreasing memory. Carers live with limited yesterday and no tomorrow, it is difficult to make plans. We live in the moment.
I have the support of friends and family which is invaluable; but increasingly I felt the need to be with others who understand the pressures. So the idea of Other Halves began to grow. Just a bunch of us without professional support, sharing the making of memories and enjoying being together and doing all those things that make life feel good.