A Long Sutton woman who is watching her husband “slowly dying before her eyes” has welcomed a global commitment to find a cure for dementia by 2025.
At the first ever G8 dementia summit in London last week, leading nations vowed to fund research to combat the relentless brain destruction that strikes so many.
The global number of dementia sufferers is expected to treble to 135 million by 2050 and Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to commit £132million for research, to be doubled by 2025.
However, for Valerie Davison (72), the promise of help has come too late.
Mrs Davison thought her husband, Jack, was just getting forgetful when the early signs of dementia began six years ago. She said: “He started forgetting things and I thought it was just old age, but then it got worse.”
In November 2011 tests at the Johnson Community Hospital confirmed he had vascular dementia.
Mrs Davison said: “It was basically a case of ‘go away and look after him’ which I did.
“I had to watch the clever man I married nearly 25 years ago – an electrical engineer who worked on buildings such as the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre and the Trocadero in London – slowly dying before my eyes.
“But then two years ago things came to a head. I had a breakdown and they had to take him into care for five days.”
After a rest, Mrs Davison struggled on. She said: “In October last year, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. My husband insisted on taking me to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, but instead of going home after taking me in he headed for Norwich.
“Police from three counties were involved in the search for him and he was found a bit dazed on a roadside.
“I had no idea the next morning he had been admitted to a ward on the floor below me.”
In July, Mr Davison was taken into a new unit for dementia patients – the Amethyst Suite at Capricorn Cottage, Fleet – named to give “new beginnings” for people like Mr and Mrs Davison. She said: “It’s a wonderful place and spotlessly clean. I didn’t know about support available to me until he went there.
“If someone had handed me some leaflets when Jack was diagnosed it would have helped, but carers are a forgotten army.”