Couple share dementia story

Colin and Jane Ward SUS-170215-113732001
Colin and Jane Ward SUS-170215-113732001

A Hailsham couple have shared their story about early on-set dementia.

Colin Ward was a healthy 52-year-old when he proposed to his partner Jane. Less than 18 months after their wedding, the couple’s lives were turned upside down when Colin was given the diagnosis of vascular dementia - at just 56 years old.

Colin’s health started deteriorating almost immediately after their wedding.

In 11 months, his condition had declined to such an extent that he had lost his job as a taxi driver and was unable to walk unaided.

Colin now lives with wife Jane, 50, at home in Hailsham with occasional respite stays at Clifden House, a specialist dementia care home in Seaford.

Colin said, “So many things went wrong for me within a very short space of time.

“Jane and I thought we’d found a bit of happiness, but it feels like that’s all been taken away. I don’t even remember much about our wedding day.”

Jane added, “Colin was always a calm, placid man but his moods became very changeable. He became a different person. Depression kicked in – he got lower and lower but there seemed to be no explanation for it.”

For a long time they did not get a diagnosis, but now Jane is having counselling through Care for Carers and Colin is eager to access physiotherapy to help him to walk again.

Jane and Colin want to share their story to help others and highlight that getting a diagnosis, although not welcome, can be helpful.