Monday, 20 May 2013

My mums name was Joan Whitelaw - the awareness campaign goes on # dementia

My mother’s name was Joan Whitelaw. She was born on the 15th of July 1939. She had been: a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a friend, a workmate, a neighbour, a valued member of her community, and a true, honest and dignified lady.
Like so many others of the 86,000 people across Scotland, however, she was labelled as ‘a wee woman with dementia,’ a condition we, at this time, have no cure for. As a result she was written off, given no value and most certainly not given the respect and care she deserved.
Six years ago, I walked out of a hospital with my mum after her diagnosis of dementia and we walked out alone, with no support. At another critical moment on our journey, an evaluation of mum’s condition and medication, we were told “there’s not much more we can do” and “it’s time to consider residential care.” Again, we left alone.
We were alone for much of our tragic journey and for this reason I am committed to raising awareness of the impact of dementia on families, and the vital role played by carers, so that nobody else in Scotland should have to go through the caring journey experiencing the loneliness and isolation that I did.
Finally, I would like take this opportunity to thank all of the carers, families, and carers’ centres who have inspired and supported me over the course of my awareness raising campaign.

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