Peter and Bessie Hill
“Bessy started developing her illness around 11 years ago, she was 57. It started with general absent mindedness, like forgetting to cook the meat for dinner or buttering the bread on both sides, that sort of thing. She was always angry with herself for forgetting things.
The point which made me realise that there was something very, very wrong was when Bessie could not find the bathroom, we had lived here a long time, it was incredible that she couldn’t remember where it was. I thought it might be a brain tumour, so she had all the tests and it showed up as Alzheimer’s disease.
As time moved on her confusion became obvious and needed full time help to stop her harming herself. My job was suffering as I had to spend more and more time with her. It reached a point when I couldn’t work and look after her as well, so I took redundancy.
Now, I don’t have much of a life, we rely on the DHSS for money. We rarely go out of the house because of the difficulties of getting round town. Getting Bessie to the toilet if we go out is impossible. Taking a grown woman into a man’s toilet is just as bad as me going into a woman’s toilet. People don’t understand, they only stare.
There’s no hope that Bessie will ever recover, even if there was a miracle cure. She will deteriorate, and will perhaps die from a fall, or pleurisy, or pneumonia, nobody dies from Alzheimer’s.
This means that I’m having to worry about everything; caring for Bessie, paying bills, dealing with the DHSS, with no social life to escape too“.