Living with dementia - Joan’s moving story

Amy, her daughter Daisy and Claire. Bottom left : Joan, Amy's nan Janet and Amy's son Harry.
Amy, her daughter Daisy and Claire. Bottom left : Joan, Amy's nan Janet and Amy's son Harry.

Dementia is a condition that few of us want to think about, but its impact can be devastating, with far reaching consequences.

Amy Reed from Cuckfield has spoken movingly of her great-grandmother’s struggle with dementia, which has inspired Amy and her family to take part in a charity walk for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Joan Bryant has Lewy Body dementia, which causes confusion, changes in thinking patterns and reasoning; it can also lead to hallucinations and cause balance problems.

Amy,26,from Glebe Road, singled out one incident that confirmed to the family that something was very wrong with Joan.

Amy said: “About a year and a half ago my great-grandmother was discovered walking the streets in her pyjamas at around half five in the morning. It was a very scary experience for us all.”

The family wanted to find Joan the best possible residential care in Eastbourne where she is from, but there was no space for her in the right kind of accommodation.

Joan had to stay in a number of assessment units and became confused and distressed, refusing to take her medication. Eventually, Joan was sectioned under the Mental Health Act for her own safety.

Amy said: “Joan is an old lady and she was sectioned with people a lot younger than her; it left her feeling scared and we were very worried. It was difficult to watch and a very difficult time for the whole family.”

After a traumatic time for everyone, Joan is now in residential care and settling in well.

The whole experience has led the family to become aware of the Alzheimer’s Society and the work the charity does to raise awareness of dementia.

Amy, a stay at home mum of four, has signed up for the Brighton Memory Walk to support the charity’s work, and her mum, Claire, will be joining her.

Amy said: “I think people need to be made more aware that dementia can happen to any one of us.

“People often don’t know about the condition and in our experience diagnosis can be slow.”

Brighton’s ‘Memory Walk’ takes place on Sunday, September 8.

To register for the walk please visit: www.memorywalk.org.uk/brighton