A brighter future
From the October / November 2017 issue of our magazine, we hear from a woman helping to fight dementia by leaving Alzheimer's Society a legacy.
Pam Day included a legacy to Alzheimer's Society in her will after seeing the effect of her mother's dementia on the family.
'The first clue I had that all was not well with my mum was when she kept forgetting to close the kitchen cupboards or turn off the tap,' recalls Pam.
'One meal time, she put some sprouts in a saucepan without water and heat, and served them raw at the table.'
Pam's mother Sarah, known as Sadie, was diagnosed with dementia by her GP in the early 1990s.
'At that time, that was it,' says Pam. 'No further tests were done, explanations given, or advice or support offered.
'I think the general consensus was that, "When you get old, you get forgetful" – end of.'
Sadie eventually moved to sheltered accommodation in Haxby, North Yorkshire, with her husband. However, he had mobility problems and Pam was living an hour away in the town of Beverley while working full time.
'Most upsetting was Mum's lack of awareness in the bathroom. One incident left us both very distressed as she was so bewildered and worried,' says Pam.
After Sadie stopped eating she was taken to hospital, where the care was lacking.
'I caught staff trying to force-feed her by holding her in a headlock,' says Pam. 'It was a very, very hard time for us all.'
Sadie died peacefully in a care home, aged 81.
In her will, Pam has chosen to leave a percentage of her estate to Alzheimer's Society so that others won't have to experience the isolation that she endured over a number of years.
'I hadn't heard of the Society back then – it would have helped enormously to talk to someone who had some understanding,' she says.
Pam knows that her contribution will enable us to offer more support to people affected by dementia, as well as to help find a cure.
'If you give even 1%, then your will won't need updating and you can ensure that some good will come out of your own death,' says Pam.
She shares the Society's desire to see improved understanding of the condition among GPs, hospitals, care homes and employers.
'My workplace was most unhelpful, and I hope we can change this by offering training for organisations,' she says.
Pam wants more people to consider a legacy gift to Alzheimer's Society.
'Rather than a specified sum, which will decline in value, if you give even 1%, then your will won't need updating and you can ensure that some good will come out of your own death,' she says.
'I want to help ensure that future generations can benefit from the fundraising and research we are doing today, and that they don't have to go through what people are going through now.'
- Get more information about leaving the Society a gift in your will.
- Read the next article from this issue of the magazine.