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Confusion can’t be dispelled
I READ with interest the article by Stephen Lewis (The Press, October 5) on dementia, and the work the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has recently been doing on this problem.
I saw the excellent photograph of my friend, Hella Reissmann, whose experiences were highlighted, as she struggled with the early stages of dementia. But I also read the main heading: “Taking away the confusion”, with sadness and even astonishment.
The various kinds of mental illness grouped together as “dementia” are, alas, incurable, but also progressive.
Nothing can take away the confusion, for this cruel affliction, although it takes many forms, will relentlessly lead to such a failure of memory, reasoning, awareness and relationships that full-time care is the only solution.
One wife or husband, or even several family carers, cease to be able to look after the needs of a sufferer.
Hella Reissmann had a fall in her own house, needed hospital treatment, then was transferred to the excellent care of Whitecross Court for rehabilitation. Here, after another stroke, she died. You write “sadly” she passed away. May I dispute this view?
Hella was very fearful about the future. She dreaded not being able to cope in her own flat. She dreaded becoming unable to look after herself.
Who knows how medical science may one day change the course of this cruel illness. But as yet it has no cure, and helping people in the early stages does not address the main problems of dementia.
Joyce Pickard, Hanson Place, York.