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Carer tells of her 'fight back' against early onset Alzheimer's

A carer whose husband has early onset Alzheimer’s disease says her 'curriculum' for them both uses a combination of diet, exercise and persistent postivity

A carer whose husband has early onset Alzheimer’s disease says her 'curriculum' for them both uses a combination of diet, exercise and persistent postivity

Christine Wise
Christine Wise: 'Trevor is leaving me. But I am going to fight back for as long as I can.'
Picture: Kate Stanworth

Christine Wise’s husband Trevor was diagnosed with the condition at the age of 56 but signs began to emerge when he turned 50.

In an emotional speech to the Queen’s Nursing Institute conference last week, full-time carer Dr Wise said: ‘He’s leaving me [because of dementia]. But I am going to fight back for as long as I can.’

Dr Wise, a senior academic who was on her way to becoming a professor when the diagnosis was made, told how she had lost three and a half stone after taking up running to support her husband in their Saturday 5km Park Run events.

Trips, holidays and geological questions

She also keeps him cognitively engaged with trips to sights such as the Cutty Sark in London and holidaying in Iceland, as well as asking him questions about geological TV programmes.

‘He’s fascinated by geology and volcanoes. I am having to get into them and find them exciting – still trying,’ Dr Wise said.

She also uses jigsaws to maintain his cognitive skills, but this has not always been successful when her motorbike-obsessed husband could not see the bike picture when the jigsaw was broken up.

'Not part of the curriculum'

Dr Wise admitted the relentless planning can be depressing, especially when plans go wrong, but added: ‘I reflect what he feels so if he sees I am down about it, he is – and that’s not part of the curriculum.’

Her experience has also highlighted difficulties for people with Alzheimer’s when visiting places. For example, Manchester Airport is the only airport she has experienced that allows people with disabilities to go through a security aisle with their carer alongside them.

Dr Wise said she receives a personal assistance budget which allows her to pay for care from people her husband trusts, and she does have respite a few times a week.

‘What we both need is a cure for Alzheimer’s.

'"Curriculum Trevor" is the nearest I have got to that and that’s why I am prepared to work so hard at it, despite the cost to me,’ she said.


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