Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 3°C

ESTD 1874 Search

West Suffolk: Husband’s love helps keep Dorothy’s dementia at bay

10:00 19 March 2014

Brian Atkinson and his wife Dorothy are backing our Forget Me Not campaign

Brian Atkinson and his wife Dorothy are backing our Forget Me Not campaign

Next week will mark the 63rd anniversary of when Bury couple Brian and Dorothy Atkinson walked up the aisle and pledged to look after each other in sickness and in health.

shares

During the past six years of their long and happy marriage, that promise has certainly been put to the test after Mrs Atkinson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2008.

Two years later, the condition developed into Lewy bodies (DLB), a type of dementia that shares symptoms with both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Since then her memory has been deteriorating progressively.

Mr Atkinson, 86, who is supporting our Forget-Me-Not campaign for West Suffolk Hospital, said: “Dorothy can remember family history and things like that, but not what happened two hours ago.

“Her mind doesn’t think to do things – I have to tell her what needs doing and she constantly needs reminding. She will often ask the same question three times in a short space of time, but it’s important to have patience because I know she can’t help it.”

Both Mr and Mrs Atkinson have found help via a series of clubs held around Bury St Edmunds for people with dementia and their carers.

Mrs Atkinson, 85, attends weekly decaf coffee mornings at Glastonbury Court residential home, and the couple joined clubs held at the Memory Café at the Gatehouse day centre.

On Tuesday afternoons five or six couples in a similar situation attend the memory club together.

Mr Atkinson continued: “The Gatehouse is brilliant because they hold different sessions for people with various stages of dementia.

“They get Dorothy doing things like playing board games and other activities to keep her mind active.

“On Tuesdays, we have our lunch together and then the carers leave the patients at the memory club while we have a 45 minute question and answer session with a representative from the Alzheimer’s Society.

“We also get to have a general discussion away from the patients about how they are going on.”

According to Mr Atkinson, the clubs have enabled his wife to remain as active as possible. They also give him a few hours’ respite which in turn helps him to continue to care for her at home.

He continued: “For some people in the group, it’s heartbreaking because their loved ones are at an advanced stage of the disease and they can no longer have a conversation with them. The Gatehouse sessions are great for Dorothy because they give her stimulation and when she is there, I can rest assured she is being attended to.

“From my point of view, it’s really useful to share experiences with other people who are in the same boat.”

Brian and Dorothy met in 1949 while he was on a lunch break from his job in the composing room at the Peterborough Standard newspaper. She was a waitress at the restaurant they visited and they married two years after in 1951.

On March 24, the couple will celebrate 63 years of marriage.

“Next week’s coffee club and lunch will be a bit of a celebration,” Mr Atkinson added.

shares

0 comments

Jonny Williams, pictured during his loan spell at Ipswich Town earlier this season

Ipswich Town have completed a sensational double swoop moments before the 5pm ‘emergency’ loan deadline – landing Jonny Williams and Zeki Fryers from Crystal Palace.

Network Rail engineers carried out essential track repairs in the tunnel near Ipswich train station. It started at 11pm and is expected to finish at 5am on Friday.

Rail services in Suffolk were delayed on Thursday night due to emergency engineering work.

The search and rescue operation off the coast of Felixstowe.

Two illegal immigrants plunged to their deaths in north-east Essex after desperately jumping from a ship in an attempt to swim to shore after a failed attempt to smuggle themselves in to the UK, an inquest has heard.

A Hyundai i20, BMW 120 and another vehicle, unknown at this stage, were involved in the collision on the A14 eastbound at Beyton at 7.50pm, police said.

A three-vehicle crash on the A14 near Bury St Edmunds injured three motorists tonight.

Strikes in Byford Road, Sudbury was hit by ram raiders

A stolen Land Rover was used to smash down the door of a bowling alley in Sudbury last night, before the raiders stole money and a change machine from inside the building.

Roe deer feeding in oilseed rape field, Suffolk, by Kevin Sawford

An award-winning wildlife photographer will be giving an illustrated talk on his craft to a group of like-minded enthusiasts.

A bus and a woman have collided in St Andrew's Street South, Bury St Edmunds.

A young woman has been taken to hospital after being involved in a collision with a bus in Bury St Edmunds.

A 27-year-old woman was jogging in Grove Road when a cyclist grabbed her buttock as he cycled past at around 6.30pm on Tuesday,  March 10.

Police are linking three sexual assault incidents in Felixstowe, it was announced today.

Harriet Doe's baby, Baby Ivory-Wood, was delivered by her mum Penny Doe. The trio are pictured with Steed Doe

As licensee at The Bell Inn in Castle Hedingham, Penny Doe is far more used to pulling pints than performing emergency midwifery.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages