'Strange, bewildering, stressful': Our journey with Alzheimer's

Bill Roberts shares his journey with Alzheimer's on his website Eldermost

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'NEW ASPECT ON LIVING': Bill Roberts and his wife Dorothy, who is living with Alzheimer's disease. Bill has started a blog on their journey, to help other families going through the same experience.

'NEW ASPECT ON LIVING': Bill Roberts and his wife Dorothy, who is living with Alzheimer's disease. Bill has started a blog on their journey, to help other families going through the same experience.

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'Recording my experiences every so often has led me to discovering a new way of living'.

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WHEN his wife's Alzheimer's disease became progressively worse, Bill Roberts made the heartbreaking decision to move her into care.

He visits Dorothy daily and, in an effort to offer encouragement to other partners of people with dementia who find their lifestyle completely turned upside down, frequently updates a website detailing his journey.

Bill takes up the story:

"A whole new way of life gradually, sometimes quickly, forces the other partner into a new strange, bewildering, stressful, incomplete life.

"In my case that separation process, after 61 years of a wonderful, happy marriage, has changed me, too.

"To help me in this solo journey, I looked for a way to cope, to both give me a focus and perhaps help other men or women faced with a similar challenge.

"Eldermost is my lifeline; a way to share my grief, to look for joy on my journey and to encourage me and maybe someone else along the way. And it does help me.

"I still become depressed and feel miserable, but recording my experiences every so often has led me to discovering a new way of living.

"Reading more about Alzheimer's helped me to realise the enormous number of families affected. I am not alone.

"And that has stimulated me to develop a new aspect on living.

"My wife and I are Christians who have attended our local church for all our married life, and that faith has provided personal strength and a firm base for moving into our later years.

"Tragically, my wife now hardly knows me and none of our five beautiful, loving children and their spouses.

"She lives, basically, in just the present minute; neither able to remember anything that occurred more than a few minutes ago nor what is in the future.

"Alzheimer's manifests itself in a whole range of individual behaviours, and each of the dozen or so other residents who share her part of the care home have their own very distinctive personalities and reactions.

But I sense her love, and treasure brief moments of shared joy.

"I can see those differences now and recognise the incredible range of actions and emotions that the partners of the other residents must have experienced in their personal homes and lives, and that helps keep me grounded and strong (most of the time!).

"As a frequent visitor to the care home, I have an insight into the incredible task of the dedicated (and patient) management and staff, the excellence of which is at odds to the malpractices we are hearing so much about in some other institutions highlighted, thank goodness, in the current royal commission."

You can catch up with Bill's journey so far HERE

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