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Ruth Langsford: Dad’s dementia made Mum’s home a prison

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Ruth Langsford: Dad's dementia made Mum's home a prison

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His appeal comes when the Alzheimer's Society demanded that the Chancellor's budget in March allocate an extra £ 8 billion for social assistance to adults. Ruth became a society ambassador after her father Dennis died of medical complications of dementia in 2012. He was 84 years old and was diagnosed 13 years earlier. He had been married to Ruth's mother, Joan, for 57 years.

Ruth said, "She promised him & # 39; in sickness and in health & # 39; when they got married and she would not give up on it."

She added: “Families are often forgotten. Sometimes they need as much care as the person who has dementia.

"It is a shock to get that diagnosis and it can take time to process it. You need to feel supported at that moment.”

The first signs of dementia, she said, can be difficult to detect. "Don't say: 'It's just old age, everyone is forgotten'. Dementia is much more than that. If your loved one is acting out of character, that's usually a sign."

Ruth, 59, married to Eamonn Holmes, wants more support for those looking after a relative. She said: “My mother is an incredible woman and it was clear at the beginning that she unquestionably took on the job of taking care of my father.

"But of course, at the time, she didn't really know what challenges were ahead."

She said that her mother "almost became a prisoner in her own home", adding: "It reached the stage where she could not leave Dad alone for her own safety. How then could she go shopping, fix her hair, just see a friend?

"If there was someone who could come once a week to give my mom a few hours off, that would have been an incredible help."

Ruth's comments come as a documentary on dementia, This is Our Family – The Miles, shows a family looking after their grandmother when they are told "it will take six months to a year" just for their relatives to be evaluated for help in home.

Ruth asked family members not to "deal in silence". She said: “Caring for someone with dementia is very challenging. Don't be afraid to ask for help. "

Sally Copley of the Alzheimer Society said: “Through our Fix Dementia Care campaign, we hear stories every day about the human cost of our underfunded social assistance system.

"The government must commit to £ 8 billion a year allocated in the spring budget and that negotiations between parties begin immediately."

This is our family – The Miles, Sky Atlantic, Tuesday 10:00 pm. For dementia advice, visit alzheimers.org.uk/fixdementiacare

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