What you might not know is that in the past few years she has been diagnosed as having Dementia. When chatting to her at my son's birthday party you will think how amazing she looks for her age, but a few hours later she sadly won't remember she was even there. I can go and visit and she can give me an in depth knowledge of Kerry Katona's children but will also offer my husband a drink 10, 20, 30 times. In the space of an hour.
I know that my Mum sees a side of my Nan that we, her grandchildren, don't see and has worked tirelessly to ensure Nan is happy living in her own home and that her Dementia doesn't rule her life. She has a giant clock in her living room showing the time and the day (because she wouldn't want to miss Strictly would she?!). Most days she goes to visit friends or has people to pop into see her. At 93 it is hard to see someone you love and admire so very much become forgetful. Names escape her and she still tries to shove a tenner in your hand even if she did it ten minutes before.
To learn more about the illness I recently became a Dementia Friend. If you visit their website you can watch a short video on Dementia and anyone can sign up to become a 'Friend' and receive a book offering you a better insight. For example I wasn't aware that you didn't have to be old to have Dementia. The case study filmed features a lady in her early 60's. It also talks about making small differences to make the sufferers life a bit easier, similar to my Nan's massive comedy clock. A person can live with the disease for many years so tiny things can really make a big difference.
We have had to talk my daughter about her Nanny Joyce. She's 4 and has the tact of a brick. When Nan asks her when she starts school for the 67th time or forgets her name. She looks at us and raises an eyebrow but understands that Nanny is forgetful and answers her politely. It is really important that it is something we talk about in schools and there are resources here if you want to chat to a young person about Dementia.
Dementia is heartbreaking but when I am with Nan and she is there and in the moment, laughing at something my little boy has done or randomly remembering some fact about a celebrity or trying to give me pocket money at the age of 37, everything is OK. She is still my Nanny Joyce, and a lady I love so much I named my very own little lady after her.
I'm working with BritMums and Public Health England alongside the #BritMumsDementiaFriends campaign.
I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own.
Visit the Dementia Friends site http://bit.ly/1wglQD4 for more information
and resources about coping with dementia among family and friends.