Fuller Family Story

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Too many people think dementia is a natural part of aging and only effects those at the very end of their life. The Fuller family has a very different story to share – a story about their mother Val who was diagnosed at the age of 64.

Val and Guy Fuller

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The Fuller Family Story

The road to a diagnosis of early onset vascular dementia began for Val and our family in March 2017.

Our earliest memory that something was different about our Mom was when she forgot the recipe to her famous cinnamon buns she had been baking for the past thirty years. The only recipe she had for these cinnamon buns was in her memory and then all of a sudden it wasn’t there anymore. 

We had noticed that she was struggling with many daily tasks such as driving, cooking, and reading. Once Mom agreed to a check-in with her family doctor, she walked away from that initial appointment, devastated to be without her driver’s license, a significant loss of independence for Val at the young age of 64. 

This was just the beginning. 

It was not until June of 2017 that Mom got her official diagnosis of vascular dementia, and subsequently, in December 2019, Alzheimer’s Disease.

The news of just how aggressive these forms of dementia could be was shocking. Seeing the CT scan of Mom’s brain and the irreversible, ongoing atrophy made her diagnosis a sobering reality. Mom experiences severe paranoia, aphasia (the inability to find words), and difficulty regulating emotion, among memory loss and panic attacks from disorientation.  

As Val’s children, caregiving became part of our daily life. 

There was always something. Another medical appointment, grocery trip, or errand. As Mom’s disease progressed, the nature of caregiving changed to include daily hygiene, bathing, and dressing. We experienced the loss of our identity as her children and became her carers. 

The process of transitioning Mom to Long Term Care, during the Covid-19 pandemic, was a whirlwind of emotions, and we knew that we would need help and support.

The Alzheimer Society connected us with learning opportunities and founded a support group for young carers who are in similar stages of life as us. We count on the support and knowledge of our First Link Coordinator, Laura, whose gentle presence comforts us, as we grieve this new reality.

Mom struggles with the limitations of her illness, but she remains cheerful in spite of them. At the care home, she is still able to do activities she loves such as gardening, singing, visiting, and watching the birds, especially her robins, outside her window. 

Mom is fondly taken care of and we know that she is treated with compassion and dignity. Though we cannot see her in person we continue to feel her strength, faith, joy, sense of humor, and tenacious spirit.  

We love her and miss her fiercely!
The Fuller Family

Please make your donation to the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan.

Make your gift online, or call 1-800-263-3367.

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