“Seventy-five per cent of my life I can keep in a normal context. I have to confess that the 25 per cent is my bogey man… It’s the place where I don’t like to linger for long.”
Those are the words of former Methodist minister Jim McWade, in this film made over the course of 12 months in 2010/11.
Jim’s bogey man is the Alzheimer’s disease he has battled since 2002.
Jim and his wife Maureen spoke with remarkable courage and clarity about the challenges posed by dementia.
We also filmed with Peter Oldacre, who was caring for his wife, Ann. “She was the girl that would go cartwheeling across the dance floor and, you know, be up at the first toot of the horn and still be wanting to go when everybody was ready to go home,” he said. “She was just the life and soul of everything really. She would try anything once, absolutely bonkers but lovely.”
In 2005, aged just 57, Ann started showing signs of confusion and memory loss. In 2007 she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The speed of her decline was rapid.
Their stories represent a growing problem in our communities. Wales currently has an estimated 38,000 sufferers, with the Alzheimer’s Society in Wales expecting to see a 33 per cent increase in dementia by 2020.
‘Living with Dementia’ received a best television programme award from the Guild of Health Writers UK.