Karen in Rhondda Cynon Taf, south-east Wales, aged 60 and living with young-onset Alzheimer’s, answers our questions.
Read this story in Welsh
What’s changed most since your diagnosis?
I have lost my sense of humour and I no longer read. I was very academic and had loads of books but kept forgetting what I was reading. I also swear a lot now when I never used to, and I get easily distracted or irritable.
People did not accept that I had dementia. They would say, ‘You don’t look old enough to have it,’ or, ‘You don’t look like you have it.’
What would you take to your desert island?
My family is important to me, as well as the feeling of being loved and giving love back. So I would take photos of my family with me to the desert island.
How has Alzheimer’s Society helped you?
They introduced me to a lot of groups and, in particular, a ceramics class. Initially I was unsure about it, but after attending I found that I loved it.
I now facilitate a group and I teach pottery to people affected by dementia. This could be a person with a diagnosis, their partner or anyone who has been affected by dementia.
What song or tune sums up your life so far?
Not a Dry Eye in the House by Meat Loaf, because I find this song comforting and emotional.
What single thing would improve your quality of life?
Room to do more pottery and ceramics at home, and maybe my own kiln because I love doing it. My explanation for this would be that pottery is like a massage for the brain. It relaxes you and takes you to another dimension.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
I would go back to my childhood when my nanny was alive. She was my hero and had so much love. I really miss her every day.
What is your most treasured possession?
Photographs of my grandchildren are my dearest possession, because they give me so much love and accept me for what I am – even when I have a bad day.