Father and son – Ken and Kevin

Kevin Young – Feb 2023

Ken was born in 1933 in Wigan. He moved with his parents to Hessle in 1938/39, as his dad had secured a job at Blackburn Aircraft at Brough, building planes for the war effort. Upon leaving school, Ken became an apprentice bricklayer and worked in the building industry until he retired in 1998 age 65.

Ken married Lilian in 1955 and had a son, Kevin in 1959, and a daughter, Christine in 1963. In later years Ken cared for his lovely wife, who had become physically frail, but she was all there mentally and never lost her sense of humour. Sadly, she passed away in early 2020… three days before the first lockdown.

Kevin and Christine had noticed that their dad’s short-term memory wasn’t as good as it once was, and they all agreed to seek help.

Because of the Covid situation, the first consultation with the Memory Clinic took much longer than expected. Ken was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in late 2021. Whilst disappointed, he was philosophical about the situation and readily accepted the advice and medication offered. Unfortunately, and much to his annoyance, he had to give up driving as a result of the diagnosis. This was a big blow as he valued his independence highly. Around the time of Ken’s diagnosis, Kevin was looking into the possibility of taking early retirement and did so in December 2021. Whilst this wasn’t driven by the diagnosis, it has been beneficial to Ken’s situation.

Kevin willingly meets any transport needs that Ken has, for such things as shopping and medical appointments. Ken visits Kevin and his wife once or twice a week for a meal and he also goes out for lunch with Kevin once a week – often for his favourite, fish ‘n’ chips!Following attendance at a course titled ‘Living Well with Dementia’, Ken started attending a men’s luncheon club, which is run by the Butterflies charity that supports those with memory loss. Kevin accompanies Ken, and both look forward to the weekly meet up with, as Ken puts it, ‘like-minded people’.

Both have made good friends within the group, which provides stimulation in a safe environment for people at various stages of the different illnesses that cause memory loss. During his time there, Ken has engraved a motor bike on a glass jar, made a banner with his name on and made some Christmas decorations for his great-granddaughters. Kevin has noticed that since he’s been attending the group, Ken’s mood and general demeanour has improved significantly.

Ken is currently living independently and does his own washing, cleaning, gardening and some simple cooking. He still uses his building skills and recently repaired a wall at the house of Kevin and his wife.

Ken’s daughter, Christine, lives in Greece and visits Ken at least once a year. Ken looks forward to, and thoroughly enjoys her visits. In 2022, Christine was delighted to be able to attend the Butterflies event, while Kevin and his wife had a few days away. A benefit of Christine’s visits is that she may notice things in the ‘day-to-day’ that require attention.In summary, getting the diagnosis was something that Ken and his family have dealt with practically, and with a few simple adjustments, Ken continues to live life well.