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I was diagnosed with early-onset dementia and thought my life was over

Early onset dementia detailed by NHS expert

“Nothing prepares you for a diagnosis like this,” Dawn Davies, 62, from Swansea said.

The diagnosis landed on September 29, 2022, which left Dawn feeling angry and frustrated.

“My mum had vascular dementia and I thought I was going to go the same way,” Dawn told Wales Online.

The former cleaner first went to the doctor’s surgery when her husband had made an off-hand remark about her “losing her marbles”.

Evidently striking a chord, Dawn decided that there was no harm in finding out if something was causing her to forget the little things.

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Her doctor agreed that something was off too, so further checks were made.

“I was given the news that there were visible changes in my brain,” Dawn remembered.

“I felt numb. I was in shock and I didn’t know what to say… I had been diagnosed with early-onset dementia.”

Dawn didn’t want to leave the house following the jarring news, but her husband and daughter convinced her to continue living her life.

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Walking past the Dementia Hwb located in the Quadrant shopping centre in Swansea city centre, Dawn and her husband, Brian, decided to walk inside.

“I was greeted by a wonderful lady who was unbelievably helpful but, of course, I just felt exposed,” Dawn told Wales Online.

She added: “I felt like she was judging me and I asked her how she would know what I was going through, to which she responded, ‘I’ve had dementia for 10 years.'”

Seeing someone else with dementia still working in a bustling city centre altered the way Dawn thought of the disease.

“This was a turning point for me. My life wasn’t over – maybe I was just beginning a new chapter,” Dawn reflected.

Dawn now works at the Dementia Hwb, and is on medication that helps to slow down the progression of the disease.

Quadrant manager Lisa Hartley said: “I know that Dawn’s story will provide comfort to others who may be experiencing something similar.

“We hope more people will seek out support from the team at the Dementia Hwb as they provide such a fantastic service for both those living with dementia and the friends and family of those individuals.”

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  • Posted on November 15, 2023