Rosamund’s husband, Michael, had just turned 60 when he was diagnosed with young-onset Alzheimer’s. Here, Rosamund shares her journey and the profound difference Crossroads Care has made to both their lives
‘When Michael was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, two weeks after his 60th birthday, the shock of it was like being slapped in the face. It was the worst diagnosis I could have imagined.
‘I was falling to pieces, but Michael was calm because now he knew why he was struggling to collect his thoughts and kept repeating things — before, he had thought he was going mad.
‘One minute, having just closed our business — a Soho cocktail bar — we were planning to go travelling, the next we were being handed leaflets about power of attorney. It was horrible.
‘As time went on, I realised how lonely caring is, especially as the activities on offer are for older people. You feel as if you don’t belong.
‘When Michael was still able to do things independently, he went to a get-together for people with dementia and everyone thought he was the Carer waiting for an elderly relative.
‘The hardest thing about being a Carer is that you’re not just dealing with the loss you feel, but you also have to manage the other person’s grief. There are some days when the pain is so extreme that it feels physical.
‘Michael has also been diagnosed with Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA), a rare condition often caused by Alzheimer’s, affecting vision and mobility. I can’t leave him alone for a second or he ends up injuring himself. I didn’t know who to turn to for help.
‘Our GP told me about Crossroads Care, but the thought of leaving Michael with someone I didn’t know really worried me. It was the dementia nurse who eventually persuaded me, saying, “if you’re burnt out, who’s going to look after Michael?”
‘From the outset, Crossroads were professional and reassuring. And just before Christmas 2021, one of their amazing Care Support Workers began visiting Michael which allowed me to go out. I don’t know of anyone else who supports Carers like Crossroads do.
‘No matter what’s happening with Michael or me, Crossroads are always there and we are so grateful.’