Dementia and the heartbreak it brings

Letters
·1-min read
<span>Photograph: MBI/Alamy Stock Photo</span>
Photograph: MBI/Alamy Stock Photo

Grace Dent’s feature about her father’s decline from his earlier eccentricities and secrets to the onset of dementia (‘Sometimes I see the terror in Dad’s eyes, and it hurts my heart’, 24 October) was a stark reminder of my own experience with this tragic disease.

One of the saddest occasions I can remember is taking my husband, Graham, to a group activity organised by the Alzheimer’s Society. He joined in with flashcard games, bowls and singsongs from the 50s and 60s, along with those who had more advanced dementia than him. (He was soon to overtake them in this respect.)

Watching him trying to engage in these group activities, I felt my eyes begin to prickle and my throat to constrict as I tried to hold back the tears, but I began to sob – silently, I hoped – in grief.

For here was my partner, my much-loved husband and father of my children, who had once been the head of the craft, design and technology department at a local high school, now reduced to this, playing party games he could barely understand. Witnessing such tragic cognitive decline happening to someone you love is heartbreaking.
Rose Hall
Beverley, East Yorkshire