Alastair will take part in Scotland's Memory Walk next month in honour of his mum, whom he cares for 24/7.
The 46-year-old’s mother, Mary Kathleen Clunie, has lived with dementia for three years. Alastair has cared for Mary, 85, since 2016 when she lost her mobility and was later diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2019.
On Sunday 18 September, Alastair and his nephews Daniel and Robert will walk from the family home in Bearsden, through the Botanic Gardens, Glasgow’s west end and back. Inspired by the family matriarch, they’re putting their best foot forward as Alastair undertakes his first Memory Walk.
It’s been a tough journey for the family, only compounded by the loss of Alastair’s father, Jack, last year. However, Alastair is keen for the walk to be inspired by and stand for the wonderful life his parents led together.
Ahead of undertaking his walk, Alastair said:
“Despite all the health issues she’s had, not just this, but all my life mum hasn’t had the best of health, she’s still fighting on. She’s always had something, but she’s got some strong heart. Her mother was the same. She’s had a rich life and that’s why it’s so sad to see her like this now.
“She loved her music and I’ve got music on around the house all the time for her. I don’t know if she hears it, but I love music as well and even played in a pipe band at one time!
I don’t know if it helps, but it certainly helps me.”
Alastair’s life was turned upside down when he became his mother’s carer, not least due to his own poor health after he suffered heart failure. Reflecting on the challenges he’s faced, Alastair added:
“I gave up my job because I had my father at home. He was not bad for someone in their 80s, but he was of that generation that never really did the shopping or the cooking, so it was down to me. I wasn’t long into being my mum’s carer when I got rushed into hospital with heart failure. I’ve had two operations, I’m on medication and I’m doing OK."
While Alastair takes up the bulk of the responsibility for his mother’s care, he has support from family, friends and external carers. While he and his nephews tackle the walk, Alastair’s brother Iain and his partner Jo will stay at home with Mary.
In the early days of Mary’s diagnosis, Alastair called the Alzheimer Scotland 24hr Freephone Dementia Helpline (0808 808 3000) for some initial guidance and found the service a true lifeline.
Alastair hopes to raise £650 for his Memory Walk. You can show your support by donating to his fundraising page.