Dementia is a cruel neurodegenerative disease that slowly strips its sufferers from their connection with family, friends and the outside world. For one couple, however, not even that has been able to keep them apart, regardless of whether or not they sometimes forget who each other are.
Both Chris Warren, 72, and his wife Hilary Warren, 69, live together in Dorset, UK, where they were both diagnosed with dementia within just 2 years of each other.
Hilary struggles with such severe vascular dementia that she rarely recognises her husband.
Although the cruel condition makes it hard, she still spends every moment of the day with him, describing the connection she feels as “unwavering familiarity.”.
Husband Chris, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, finds it increasingly hard to handle the delirium associated with his condition, as well as what’s happening to him and his wife.
Son James Warren, 37, works as a Regional Fundraising Officer for Alzheimer’s Research UK. He comments on their relationship:
“My mum and dad are soul mates, without a doubt. If my wife and I have had the marriage they’ve got, we’ll be doing just fine.”
“My parents did everything for my two sisters and me and put themselves second, they were a team.”
Although still close, Chris adds that their conditions have worsened dramatically over the past year, with it becoming increasingly hard to warrant an emotional reaction from the pair:
“They’ve both gone downhill a lot in the past year. Trying to get a smile out of my dad these days is incredibly difficult, the only time he really smiles is when he’s with my mum.”
“They still show that they’re in love with one another. My mum is very short and my dad holds onto her forearm because he’s too tall to reach her hand, which we find very funny.”
“She’ll never truly know any children that my wife Ellie and I may have.”
James has raise thousands of pounds for Alzheimer’s UK during his time working as a fundraiser for them, a time during which he’s seen the heavy toll that Alzheimer’s can have on families.
Looking back at how she was, James now notices that his mum makes less and less sense when she speaks and is slowly losing her grasp of reality.
“She’ll never truly know any children that my wife Ellie and I may have. It’s such a cruel irony when i think of how much she loves kids, she worked as a teaching assistant for over 20 years. She never remembers what nice days we have had together.”
Dementia cure still on the horizon
Despite a damning year for dementia cure trials, there is still hope, with many experts believing that the cure has already been found and is simply awaiting clinical trials. With any luck, those under the age of 40 will never have to experience the pain of dementia first-hand.
If you’re looking for assistance with caring for a friend or loved one, get in touch with Dementia Caring today. Although there isn’t a cure, services such as dementia day centres can offer welcome respite to give families and friends a much-needed break from full-time care.