Lesley Pitchford has taken part in ‘Walk a Mile a Day’ for Dementia UK Together, a cause close to her heart.
Her efforts have helped raise half a million pounds to fund specialist nurses.
She and her husband David dreamt of moving from Shropshire to Wales and had the Cambrian News delivered to keep up to date with jobs and housing. In 1996 their dream came true and they moved to a smallholding in Ceredigion, finding work and the community life they had been seeking.
But in 2012 David started to show the first signs of dementia and was eventually diagnosed with Lewy Body type Dementia.
Lesley said: “Following this devastating news we were left to cope with no support, being told to go to your GP if you have any problems. So began our long and winding road with dementia.
“I wrote to the Cambrian News letters page sharing the devastating truth about the lack of support in the community and my letter was printed. It was so good to finally be heard. Someone was listening.”
Although difficult, they found some lighter moments attending a weekly Art for Wellbeing group in Llandysul where they were welcomed, found a community of fun and friendship and support.
The Alzheimer’s Society offered regular support for a while but this was withdrawn due to lack of funding.
A referral to social services finally led to a nine-hour care package through Diverse Cymru, and a Carers Forum; a valuable channel to share experiences and provide feedback. The Forget Me Not club run by Ray Ceredigion in Aberaeron also provides support for those with living dementia.
An article in the Cambrian News about the Admiral Nursing Service provided through Dementia UK caught Lesley’s eye, but it was not available in Ceredigion.
“I made an appointment with MP Ben Lake who was very empathetic and instrumental in moving things forward. Finally, in 2018 we received a visit from our very own Admiral nurse who supported us all the way to the end of our journey. In August 2022 David’s suffering was over and after 10 long years he passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, at home. His long journey with dementia was over.
“We are very thankful for the help we finally received, and thanks to the Cambrian News for giving us this opportunity to share our story and support Dementia UK who were with us all the way!”
To feature in First Person,