I’m using my 12 Days of Giving nomination to support a charity which continues to be there for my Grandpa, and family, the incredible Alzheimer’s Society…

Let’s talk about the brain

The terms “Dementia” and “Alzheimer’s” are often used as though they mean the same thing. They are related, but there are important differences between the two. Dementia is a broad (“umbrella”) term for an individual’s change in memory, thinking or reasoning. There are many possible causes of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. It makes up 60% to 80% of all dementia cases. Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging — it’s a progressive brain disease, meaning it gets worse over time. Two abnormal brain structures called plaques and tangles are the main features of Alzheimer’s disease and scientists believe they damage and kill the nerve cells. This subsequently results in memory loss, behavioural issues, and a decline in functioning, which can even include trouble swallowing, known as dysphasia.

Currently, the disease is incurable, and by 2025, over 1 million people will be living with the condition in the UK.

My Grandpa

My Grandpa worked as structural engineer, taking over his father’s structural engineering company, and between them, worked on various phenomenal projects including designing the tallest structure in the UK at the time – The Post Office Tower, now known as the BT Telecom Tower! They also had structural involvement with designing The Mall, the tree-lined red Royal Road, leading from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace! My Grandpa also had the main contract for the River Island stores and designed numerous bridges across the UK.

It’s been difficult watching him deteriorate due to this heart-breaking disease, especially when his great intelligence contributed so much to society.

Sadly, his own father lost his life to this disease.

My Grandpa still has an amazing sense of humour, and although struggles with his vocabulary, can still have sharp, witty conversations. However, I don’t really understand what the reality is of trying to cope on a day-to-day basis with the everchanging environment that his Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia throws at him.

But Alzheimer’s Society does… they have offered to phone our family as many times as we need, day or night. They’ve provided invaluable support, from obtaining a blue badge, to practical and emotional support for everyone involved.

In the past 12 months, donations have enabled:

92,000 people to access direct support. Whether this is over the phone or face-to-face, having someone there to help in the toughest times is invaluable to people affected by dementia.

1,500 people every week reach out to the Dementia Connect Support Line. Open seven days a week, the Support Line is there for anyone who is worried about dementia.

54,000 calls to combat loneliness through their Companion Calls, made possible by over 2,000 brilliant volunteers.

Push the government to address the ongoing issues people in care homes and their families are facing. People with dementia make up 70% of care home residents, and they will continue to fight for their rights – you can join them by signing up as a campaigner.

73,000 people access peer support on their online community. Talking Point is a place for people to connect over dementia, share their experiences, and seek advice from people who know exactly what they’re going through.

To learn more about the disease itself and the amazing charity, click here for the Alzheimer’s Society website.

Thank you, I’m very grateful to Fiona & jellybean for donating an average day’s salary to these incredible 12 charities as part of our 12 Days of Giving. 😊