Dementia a tough journey for families who must care

Kristy Muir and her grandmother Pam Muir.
Kristy Muir and her grandmother Pam Muir.

THERE is no disease worse than one which destroys the mind.

I have seen first-hand the devastating affects of dementia.

My grandmother, Merry was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2005 at the age of 70, but we are certain she had it for about eight to 10 years prior to this.

She is now in the last stage of the disease and no one can tell us how long that will go on for.

Gran is in high-care and bed ridden. She doesn't know who we are, can't speak and cannot do anything for herself.

My mum still visits her regularly, but it is incredibly hard for her.

It has been seven years since I have visited her. I can remember the last time I saw her so vividly and it is hard to escape.

There is no doubt in my mind Gran would not want her granddaughters remembering her that way, and so I decided not to visit.

Fortunately, since then I have been able to think of her the way she used to be - full of energy, always up for a sing-along on the piano, completing her daily crosswords and looking after me and my sister.

She was an amazing cook, a loving and warm person and a community-minded woman.

My other grandmother, whom I call Nan (pictured), has succumbed to a similar fate. She was diagnosed with dementia recently.

Pop is caring for her, but he said it was quite a struggle.

It is weird to say out loud, but it is worse to be the carer than the person with dementia.

Often it is the carer's health that fails first.

All that I have learnt during this 10-year journey with my family is that seeking support and having the strength to make the tough decisions is the only thing you can do to save your sanity and to continue living your life.

Topics:  alzheimer's dementia kristy muir

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