Genevieve Fernandes in south London tells us about walking together with family and friends for her dad.
My dad Domnic was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia in 2020.
We think he had dementia before this but because we didn’t see him often, it wasn’t as noticeable.
Dad moved to England with his family from Uganda in 1964.
He worked for Freemans for 30 years and then for the prison service.
He played sports, he loved to dance and he loved travelling.
I get my love of community work from him. He’s always willing to help people with his time and experience.
If someone was hard up, he and my mum would support them.
My dad continued this after my mum died, he is that sort of person.
Originally the doctor put Dad’s symptoms down to age and being forgetful or lazy.
We think they were reluctant to diagnose dementia because he was a carer himself.
Dad enjoyed life
Dad enjoyed his life so I was shocked that he couldn’t feed himself, shower or get out of bed.
He hadn’t been opening his post and I saw these bags of letters when I visited.
We went to my doctor and eventually got his diagnosis.
Following the death of the lady he cared for and several heart attacks, Dad moved in with me in 2019.
We built a bedroom downstairs, and my husband gave up work to help the family care for Dad.
Together we cover all of Dad’s needs, including his personal care, medication and meals.
We used to go to an Alzheimer’s Society group, but Dad now finds it confusing so spends more time at home.
He enjoys magazines and puzzles, so I keep all the old ones for him and recirculate them. He reads them like they are new.
We’re a very musical family and Dad still loves tapping his toes to his favourite jazz and blues songs.
I know I can ring the Society up for support anytime. It’s brilliant.
I always used to do fundraisers at work so when I saw an advert for Glow, I wanted to give it a try.
My daughter previously did a Race for Life because my mum died of cancer.
I asked her, ‘Why don’t we do Glow walk for Granddad?’
Supportive family and friends
My whole family was involved, including my daughters Shannon and Jade.
My friends Lottie Kenyon and Diana Teotoino also joined us, as well as Diana’s daughter.
We even cut the starting ribbon as a team.
Work colleagues were so supportive and helped me raise £250.
Once I’d done the walk, people came up to me and said their family was affected by dementia.
It’s so important to raise awareness that dementia can affect anybody and it’s not always a straightforward diagnosis.
We hope to take part in another walk, but bigger and better this time!
Memory Walk this autumn is close to Dad’s birthday, so I may even bring him along.
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