Stan Lintern has had Alzheimer's disease for 10 years. He is cared for by his wife Denise, who helped to set up the Maidstone branch of the Alzheimer's Society and runs the helpline. She has been awarded an MBE for services to her local community. They have three children.
"I was 49 when Stan was diagnosed. He'd been having problems with his memory for a bit and, after taking early retirement, he was lacking in motivation. We thought it was due to him missing his work. His behaviour began to be a bit odd at times, so when I was seeing our GP, I mentioned it. The GP suggested that Stan go for an appointment. After about six months of extensive tests, Stan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
"It was a devastating shock, but also good, because at least we knew what we were dealing with. It had been horrible not knowing what was causing his weird behaviour.
"For the first few years, we carried on with normal life. Stan was a Premier League table tennis player and he still enjoyed doing that. He continued to drive and we went on lots of holidays. He was a very meticulous man and liked everything to be 'just so'. But, as the Alzheimer's took over, he just decided he wasn't going to do things any more. I think he thought that if he couldn't do it the way he liked to do it, he wasn't going to bother anymore.
"Every time there has been a big change with Stan, I have to stop and take stock. Stan needs full-time care now. He's in a wheelchair and needs to be fed. He doesn't speak anymore and I'm not sure that he understands what I'm saying. I have some outside help during the week, but mostly it's down to me.
"We still go away. I have a hoist for getting him around indoors and a transporter 'truck' with a hydraulic tail lift to go out in. We still like going to Holland to see my cousins and their families, and visiting various places in the UK. The only thing we don't do is fly anywhere. I don't feel a prisoner because I've made sure that I can be independent and that we can get away. Stan is always more awake and aware when we're doing something different."
Alzheimer's is a disease which causes patients to be affected by memory loss. Memory loss if a neurological disorder, which affects many functions of the brain as well as memory recollection.
The symptoms of Alzheimer's gradually worsen with the passage of time. At times, at the onset of the disease they can be mistaken for other ageing related conditions. Alzheimer's is treated according to the severity of the symptoms.
Alzheimer's disease is caused by parts of the brain shrinking (atrophy), which affects the structure and function of particular brain areas. The causes of this disease have as of yet not been elucidated.
It's best to see your GP if you're worried about your memory or think you may have dementia. A timely diagnosis gives you the best chance to adjust, prepare and plan for the future.
There's currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease, although medication is available that can temporarily reduce some symptoms or slow down the progression of the condition in some people.
As the exact cause of Alzheimer's disease is still unknown, there's no way to prevent the condition. However, there are steps you can take that may help to delay the onset of dementia.
Stan Lintern has had Alzheimer's disease for 10 years. He is cared for by his wife Denise, who helped to set up the Maidstone branch of the Alzheimer's Society.