Dementia UK Lifeline


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Dementia UK

Jim Broadbent presents an appeal on behalf of Dementia UK. The charity provides specialist dementia support for families through their Admiral Nurse service.


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My favourite memory of my mum goes back to her competitive spirit.

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She used to love her swimming. She won medals when she was a teenager.

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I met Gordon when I was 16.

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We used to dance the night away. We just had a good time.

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My first memory of my dad is going to the football, Huddersfield Town.

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He took me when I was three years old and we've been going ever since.

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Our memories are precious. They're the essence of who we are.

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We learn from them and they can be a way to bring

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happiness into the present by recalling the past.

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But what if they were taken away from us or from the ones we love?

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This is me with my mother Dee.

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Dee lived with dementia for about four years.

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It was a very tough time for the whole family,

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witnessing her deteriorating week by week, month by month.

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She died in 1995, aged 81.

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In the UK, there are 850,000 people living with dementia,

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a condition that currently has no cure, but fortunately there is

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a charity called Dementia UK, working tirelessly to support them

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and their families through this very difficult journey.

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Mum's always been a strong character.

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I'm very close to Mum

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and after Dad died, I think

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I took over that role in her life.

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I started to notice the changes when Mum was about 83.

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She was struggling with figures and struggling with bills.

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It was quite disturbing

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because her working life revolved around money, figures and numbers.

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I had to take the electric kettle away.

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That's because she'd just fill it with water, light the gas hob

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and then stick the electric kettle on the gas hob.

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She started putting the iron down on the carpet -

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dangerous things that were a real threat to her health and safety.

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Richard's mum was diagnosed with dementia in 2008.

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Mum's GP said, "Richard,

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"you do realise this is going to kill your mum, don't you?"

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Sorry. And...

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I looked at him and just...

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I don't think I said anything.

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I just gave him a hard look and...

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It brought it home to me.

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There comes a point, when dealing with the illness,

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that you just get overwhelmed

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and if you don't get that support and help,

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you're just going to fall apart

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trying to deal with the dementia.

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It was then that the mental health nurse said to me, "You know,

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"actually, Richard, it's not your mum I'm worried about, it's you."

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There are many families across the UK just like Richard's

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who are facing dementia alone.

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It's a frightening prospect and places huge strain on people,

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both physically and mentally.

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That's all right, now take your time.

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That's why Dementia UK provides specialist nurses

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known as Admiral Nurses.

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They offer practical and emotional support

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both in local communities

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and through the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline,

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giving families the skills

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and confidence they need to continue when things are really tough.

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Hello, my mum! How are you?

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The Admiral Nurse said to me, "Your mum needs professional care

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"and support and you need to have the comfort of knowing that she's

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"in a safe environment,

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"that she's not at risk."

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I'm the only person in the world that Mum recognises now.

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She looks forward to me coming in. It's what gives meaning to her life.

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Over the last three years,

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28,000 families who've been affected by dementia have directly benefited

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from the charity's helpline and demand is growing year-on-year.

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Katie is an Admiral Nurse

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and her role involves supporting families face-to-face.

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Main role of an Admiral Nurse is to support the family carer.

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We're mental health nurses.

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We have extra experience and expertise in

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working with families and supporting somebody living with dementia.

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I love my job, it's such an honour when families invite me

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into their home and they begin to get to know me and build up

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that therapeutic relationship, which is paramount to the work that

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we're doing because we often see people in the most vulnerable times.

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For the last few years,

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Katie has supported families across West Yorkshire.

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One such couple is Gordon and his wife Agnes.

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In 2012, Gordon's behaviour started to change

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and after 18 months of concern from his family,

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he was diagnosed with dementia.

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He was a very quiet person.

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He's always been an Elvis Presley fan, had a quiff like Elvis.

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Been married 56 year

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and we're still together

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and the love is still there

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and that's why it's been so hard to let go.

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By taking my dad to the football,

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it does give me mum that extra break that she needs.

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She then doesn't have to worry about me dad.

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I don't think he can remember it after the game, but in that moment,

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when he's at the game, he looks as though he's enjoying it

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and that pleases me because he has still got a bit of a life.

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He's not the man I married, definitely not.

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He's completely changed.

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His behaviour at times was so unpredictable.

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Aggressiveness towards me mum.

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The effect it's had on me mum is...

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she's had to stop her life to look after me dad.

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I've got to be with him everywhere. Got to bath him,

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I've got to see him go to the toilet. He doesn't know what's what.

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When he went missing was the worst night of my life.

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A night I don't ever really want to go through again.

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We all thought he weren't coming back.

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And when it broke daylight, I just said...

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I won't have us a husband any more.

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He were found 14 hours later.

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Emotionally it affects me a lot and there's times

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when I've sat in here crying.

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There's been a lot of tears, really.

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Since Gordon was diagnosed,

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Dementia UK has been a lifeline for the family.

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Through regular visits,

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Katie has offered practical support to keep Gordon safe and

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emotional support to help Agnes and the family cope with the situation.

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Katie's my angel, the Admiral Nurse.

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I can let all out to her,

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what's happened from one visit to the next visit.

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And that was difficult for you to manage?

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And she'll advise me, calming me down.

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You know what they say, you marry them for better or for worse.

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We've been down there but Katie's lifted me up now.

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Stories like Richard's and his mother's, and that of Gordon

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and Agnes, highlight the tremendous strain dementia can put on a family

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and how well a charity like Dementia UK can help.

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I know from experience with my own mum how hard it can be to cope

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when a loved one gets dementia.

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Because of that, I believe passionately that

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everyone who needs the support of an Admiral Nurse,

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like the ones provided by the charity, should have access to one.

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To increase the number of Admiral Nurses within communities

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and on the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline, we need your help.

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To give by phone, call...

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Calls are free from mobiles and landlines. Text...

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Texts cost £10 plus your standard network message charge

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and the whole £10 goes to Dementia UK.

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For full terms and conditions or to make a donation online, visit

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the Lifeline website at...

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Or if you'd like to post a donation,

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please make your cheque payable to Dementia UK and send it to

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Freepost, BBC Lifeline Appeal,

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writing Dementia UK on the back of the envelope.

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Thank you.

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Jim Broadbent presents an appeal on behalf of Dementia UK. The charity provides specialist dementia support for families through their Admiral Nurse service, giving one-to-one support and expert guidance, and helping them cope when things get hard.