Meet David and Rhoda
As today we mark World Alzheimer’s Day, 21 September, we’d like to share a little more about our work supporting couples and families living with the condition. Couples like husband and wife David and Rhoda, whose story is shared in our latest Autumn Appeal.
David is the sole carer for his wife Rhoda who has Alzheimer’s. For many people – like David – the pressure and difficulty in adapting to his new role as Rhoda’s sole carer after her diagnosis was taking its toll. The sadness he feels in no longer being able to have a conversation with Rhoda or spend quality time together as husband and wife became overwhelming.
“Things slowly crept up on us. I could manage shopping, cooking and lack of recognition of familiar landmarks, but the real jolt came on our 50th wedding anniversary when she asked me, ‘Did we really get married? I can’t remember.’ By 2016 I felt like I had lost her.”
It is estimated that unpaid carers supporting someone with dementia save the economy 11 billion pounds per year. That’s why we’re passionate to do everything we can to support carers like David and those that they lovingly care for to take a break and enjoy some time away from their everyday routines.
“If there was no possibility of a break, I would have to consider putting Rhoda in a home. I’m sure she would hate this. Lots of people feel the need for a break from time to time. This goes double for carers with their extra and relentless commitments.”
Having the opportunity of a break was a great relief for David. Rhoda’s care needs were taken care of and they could reconnect as a couple. They took part in activities together, indulging Rhoda’s passion for art and music. David was also able to rest and have some time to himself; exploring the centre’s surroundings, taking long walks and the centre staff and volunteers provided company and conversation round the breakfast table in the mornings. Most importantly, David feels he can cope so much better knowing that it would be possible for them to have holidays again.
There are 850,000 thousand people currently living with dementia, the most common form of Alzheimer’s, in the UK. And, that’s not all, it is estimated that 225,000 will develop dementia this year alone – that’s one person every three minutes.
In 2018, the number of disabled people and carers accessing respite breaks has fallen and yet, the need is only growing. We exist purely to help carers and their loved ones to take the breaks that they need, enabling them to continue coping with daily life, and to always have the reassurance of knowing that help is at hand when it is needed.
You can help us to be there for many more carers just like David and his wife Rhoda. If you would like to leave a gift in support of our work, please do so below. Thank you.