Dan is 42 and living with young onset Alzheimer’s disease. He shares his story here…
I’m not entirely sure when I first noticed something wasn’t right. Quite some time before my GP took me seriously though. The first time I mentioned I was having trouble remembering my then GP jokingly replied that there was nothing he could give me for that.
I was diagnosed three years ago at the age of 39 with young onset Alzheimer’s. My short-term memory is horrendous. I can remember things from childhood in detail but a conversation a few minutes ago is gone. This causes problems at home and at work - I work on an IT service desk in an NHS foundation trust. My personality has changed quite dramatically too. I was always a positive person, very optimistic, intelligent, highly educated and cheerful. Now I am quite cynical, struggle to see the good in anything. I try to hide all this the best I can but can’t help myself sometimes. The future is scary.
The monthly YoungDementia UK Sheffield group has been a godsend...I'd be lost without it.
The monthly YoungDementia UK Sheffield group has been a godsend. I live in Rotherham but there is nothing similar in that area, so I make the journey. At group meetings, well even before them really, I feel happy and relaxed. I book the whole day off work for it, so that’s good before we even begin! As soon as I enter the room, I feel safe, welcome and able to be myself without having to try and hide anything, which can be a huge effort when out in public.
When I get home, it can feel a bit empty as I live alone though I have just recently started dating a lass who lives in Scotland. I usually can’t remember any of the conversations we had at the group, but I do remember the fun, and the feeling of being welcomed. It’s something to look forward to every month.
I’d be lost without it.