Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 10°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

St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils have been urged to fine irresponsible dog owners for not picking up after their pets

St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils have been criticised after it was revealed neither has issued a fine for dog fouling over the last three years.

Gemma Edgar was diagnosed with a brain tumour last year. She has undergone treatment and is now raising awareness and money for brain tumour research. Gemma is pictured at home in Colchester with her husband, Rob, and sons Dylan (3) and Noah (9 months).

Gemma Edgar will begin drawing a pension aged just 29 after being forced into retirement from ill health.

Colourful houses on Aldeburgh seafront, Suffolk

One of Suffolk’s most famous resorts was the third best-performing coastal town for house prices in Britain last year, a survey has shown.

Abellio Greater Anglia train.

Abellio Greater Anglia has attracted more negative Tweets than any other rail service provider on routes to London, according to latest statistics.

Paul Nixon has organised the Bergholt Bomb Along bike ride in aid of the Alzheimer's Society.

Hundreds of fundraisers took part in a second-annual charity bike ride raising cash for the Alzheimer’s Society today.

The sign nailed to a bench in Hadleigh aimed at Brian Riley, who has moved to the US but is continuing as a Suffolk County Councillor

An attempt at making an amusing political statement has left a lasting mark – but not a welcome one.

Lloyd Thornton was jailed for 42 months for sex offences. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

The former hotel manager from west Suffolk has been jailed for 42 months for groping four young women after making inappropriate sexual comments to them.

The man was in a four-man rowing boat on a round-the-UK trip when he fell ill around six miles off Brightlingsea in Essex at around 2.40am on Sunday.

A man suffering from seasickness was in hospital over the weekend after being rescued by coastguards.

Suffolk FA Grassroots Festival at Gainsborough Sports Centre in Ipswich.
Cornard Dynamos v Beccles.

Football fanatics from across Suffolk kitted-up for one of the biggest youth sporting events in the county, as they took part in the Suffolk FA Grassroots Festival.

An architects impression of the proposed new look for Ipswich Cornhill

Redevelopment hopes for Ipswich Cornhill have received a major shot in the arm after Suffolk County Council’s new spokesman for the town pledged to match the borough’s £800,000 investment.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages