After witnessing her grandmother lose her memory due to dementia, a Fixer is starting a campaign for more people to ‘see the person and not the illness’.
Kayleigh Duddin's grandmother was diagnosed with vascular dementia three and a half years ago.
Though the 22-year-old still gets to see her, she maintains her grandmother is a different person to the one she was.
‘One day she knew us and the next she didn’t. Her personality and everything changed,’ Kayleigh says.
‘She’s still my nana and I’ve got to respect that, but I’m a person that she doesn’t know now.
‘She’s my mum’s mum and she’s always been a big part of my life. She taught me to grow up. She kept the family going and she kept us together.’
A Lincoln resident, Kayleigh works in a care home and says her experience with her grandmother has taught her a lot. She now wants families to see beyond the illness and remember the person is still there inside.
‘I want to change more families’ views about the condition. Some of my own family have stopped visiting my nana, because they don’t understand that, actually, she hasn’t gone.
'Part of her is still there and you’ve just got to respect that part.
‘It’s not just an illness – they’re still a real person and you’ve got to see behind the dementia and see what sort of person they actually are.
‘I think because someone else is looking after my nana, I want to give something back too.’
Working with Fixers, Kayleigh wants to create a resource which provides information about dementia and advice on how to deal with it.
‘It’s very hard, because the person you’ve always known and loved is not there anymore. But they are still there and this is what I want to say.'