Help us end the stigma of dementia
James Ashwell, founder of www.unforgettable.org spent five years caring for his mum who had early onset dementia.
They were the hardest years of his life, but they gave James a passion to help others on the dementia journey. Here James explains how Unforgettable might be able to help you.
Mum was in her fifties when she was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, but it wasn’t until Dad died suddenly that the full extent of her illness became clear. I quickly realised Mum couldn’t live alone, so I gave up my job in London and become her carer.
I was very fortunate to have three siblings Simon, Gemma and Mark, who were prepared to help practically and financially, and we also employed professional carers when necessary. Even so, those first few months were absolute hell.
Eventually we realised that if Mum wasn’t to sit staring at the TV all day, we needed to keep her busy and give her a sense of purpose. Gradually, with a fair amount of imagination and ingenuity, we discovered ways to make life more enjoyable for Mum and a bit easier for all of us. Moments when Mum looked happy or excited, however brief, became precious.
Mum died peacefully at home on February 17 2011, aged 67. The five years I spent caring for her changed me profoundly. I felt compelled to share what I’d learned – and to learn more – so that the dementia journey can be a bit easier for everyone.
It’s a tall order, I know, but here’s what Unforgettable.org is doing to make it happen.
We have more than 500 easy to read information articles written by experts and people with personal experience of dementia. Whether you’re worried about memory loss, confusion or want to know more about the stages of dementia, we hope you’ll find answers to even your most difficult questions.
Unforgettable has have hundreds of products that have been specially designed with dementia in mind.
Still not sure what that means?
Well, does the person you care for have difficulty telling the time? We have a range of clocks that could really help.
Do you worry they might be bored? We have a huge number of games and activities to ensure stimulation and enjoyment.
We can also help you find a practical solution to many of the other challenges dementia can bring, such as wandering and incontinence.
We know that dementia products are quite a new idea. In fact, we carried out a survey that revealed 87 per cent of people affected by dementia don’t believe that products with the potential to help them, even exist, when they do. But it’s hardly surprising people haven’t heard of them because there wasn’t a single trusted brand on the high street or online which caters exclusively for people with dementia…until we came along.
Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney is extremely important, but many people put it off because it seems complex and expensive. So we’ve created a free online service and step-by-step guide with no need for expensive lawyers. We’ve also developed several different LPA packages (one of which is free) so you can be sure to get exactly what you need.
The Unforgettable community is growing rapidly in numbers and in confidence. We know how lonely dementia can feel because we’ve been there too, so we pride ourselves in helping each other by sharing our dementia stories, tips and insights.
Yes, it’s difficult (and painful) to talk about dementia and how it might be affecting your family, but we’ve made a start and we’re determined to keep going until the stigma ends and people are no longer afraid to talk about dementia.
So why don’t you join us? Take a look here www.unforgettable.org