My name is Maureen. I’m 65 years old, married to Robert, and I’m currently living well with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.


Before my diagnosis, I worked in a Call Centre, and I really enjoyed it. I had good friends there and it gave me a sense of purpose. I liked getting up, dressed and out every morning. I’ve always been a very sociable and positive person. When my sons were younger, I was closely involved in activities their schools were running. Now, I’m still as keen to be involved in things. 

I was diagnosed two years ago, though there were signs that things weren’t quite right for a couple of years before that. Now, my husband reminds me that during the lead-up, there was a prolonged period - of at least a couple of years - when I’d get my sons’ names mixed up or miss words out of sentences. To begin with, we wrote this off as me being absent-minded and assumed it was just part of getting a bit older. But as time went on, we began to realise this was adding up to something. 



After I visited my GP, I had a few assessments at the hospital, and we began to build up a picture before we met the consultant. By the time we had this meeting, I was semi-prepared. I was given a diagnosis of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease but from that point, I decided not to feel sorry for myself or be sad. This is just something I have to deal with and live with -and just keep taking my medication. That was the tricky bit at first and we have been through a few changes in prescriptions to get the right balance but now, I’m feeling positive and I’m living well. 

We live in a rural community, after moving north from Glasgow 30 years ago for my husband’s job. We’d always planned to move back to the city when we retired but when I received my diagnosis, we decided no, this is where we’ve built our lives. People know us here - this is our home. So, we decided to stay put. We have a good support network here, with great friends and neighbours – and an active social life. My sons all moved south when they grew up – one is down in Norfolk and the others are in Edinburgh. We see them every three months or so and each time they come, they say they notice a difference in me but at the same time, my husband tells me my positivity keeps them all positive, too. 

We enjoy social occasions; going to the pub, singing, dancing – we love to dance. We’ve also been known to get the karaoke out at home for a sing song. My favourite tune is ‘The Greatest Love of All’ by Whitney Houston and my husband gives me a run for my money, belting out his favourites by Neil Diamond and Don McLean. We also meet up with friends regularly, but we don’t tend to talk about dementia, we’re more likely to discuss the latest episode of Coronation Street! 


Yes, I do miss being out among them every day and I also greatly miss the independence of being able to drive my own car. Those aspects of my life have changed. But getting the bus works, too. I can still get to where I want or need to go, and I still see my work colleagues - I refuse to feel sorry for myself. I can still get out and do things I enjoy, like shopping! I usually wear my lanyard when I’m out, just to make people aware. We’ve also been very open with family and friends so there’s an awareness already – fortunately, I’ve never faced any kind of stigma, people are very understanding. I hope that continues to be the case. My message to anyone in a similar situation is this. If you’ve had a diagnosis of dementia, please don’t feel miserable. Get out there and continue doing what you enjoy, be positive. Take your medication and if you need help, go out there and get it. There’s always someone there to listen and give you support and advice. 

Dementia is one thing about me, it’s not everything.


To read more stories like this, sign up for our monthly e-news