Tracey (pictured left) is a smiley individual full of love and laughter but it wasn’t all fun and games last year, when her husband Paul was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s aged just 54.
“I remember Paul would come home from his job in construction and say that some of the young guys at work were hiding his tools”, Tracey says. “At the time I didn’t think much of it, but now I realise it was the start of his memory problems”. After seeing his GP, Paul was referred to the RICE Memory Clinic. When they entered the clinic, Tracey noticed the information, posters and leaflets available all targeted older people.
They were then given the devastating news that Paul has early-onset Alzheimer’s, a condition which affects 5% of the population. Despite this difficult diagnosis and the additional care she now gives to Paul, Tracey has continued running the house, working part time and helping to look after her two grandchildren. Tracey is even keen to set up an Alzheimer’s support group here at the BANES Carers Centre.
Looking back, Tracey says “I would love to see a picture at the Memory Clinic of someone younger, someone who is still working, someone with a mortgage and children. Because that is the reality. It’s not just people who are grey who get Alzheimer’s”.
Back in August, Tracey and her husband Paul appeared on ITV’s Lorraine to spread awareness of early-onset Alzheimer’s, and in October it was our pleasure to award Tracey with ‘Unsung Hero’ at our Celebrating Carers ceremony. We felt Tracey deserved recognition for her bravery and resilience during such a difficult time. Well done Tracey – you’re a star!
If you’re caring for someone you love and need support, contact BANES Carers’ Centre free on 0800 0388 885.