I was a heavy drinker for years. I had a spell in hospital because of about 18 months of binge drinking. I didn’t notice any changes in me, it was my girlfriend at the time who told me I had the ‘memory of an ant.’ The relationship ended because I couldn’t remember dates we’d arranged.
I carried on drinking and when I decided to stop I was left with blurred vision and pains in my feet. I still didn’t realise I had a problem until the night I went to bed and left sausages under the grill.
I saw my doctor several times before I was referred to the local hospital. I was diagnosed with Korsakoff’s syndrome in 2011.
Life now can be challenging
I stay away from the people I used to drink with and I don’t have any friends in the small town I live in. My family live 80 miles away and I can’t negotiate public transport to visit them.
I’ve tried to explain to the staff at the gym about my dementia. I’m not sure they understand or believe me because I look relatively young and fit.
I struggle with loose change. Staff will help but I find it embarrassing to struggle with coins if there’s a queue so I just hand over a note. Reading is difficult unless the book is very exciting. I have to watch films over and over as I can’t remember what happens!
Finding ways to manage
I take a notebook everywhere with me and make lists for everything. I leave things in exactly the same place in the house and I mark the keys I need for my computer games with Blu Tac.
I cook the same meal every day because I know how to cook it and for how long. I know when to cook it because my cat, Herbert, always lets me know when he’s hungry!
Jen and Simon are my support workers from YoungDementia UK. They are people I can trust and rely on and I’ve never had that before. It's really nice having someone coming around each week, which is really the highlight of my week, and I'm glad to have someone to chat to.
I wish people were more patient and more understanding. They make judgements about me based on my appearance. But they should realise that just because people don’t fit the stereotype, doesn’t mean they can’t have dementia.
- Nic was diagnosed with Korsakoff's sydrome in his early 50s. He lives in Oxfordshire and receives individual support from YoungDementia UK. For more information about Korsakoff's syndrome, click here.