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'Utterly devastating' The harsh realities of caring for someone with dementia

PUBLISHED: 18:50 12 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:38 13 October 2019

Graham Rodgers vowed to walk  10 miles a day for 60 days and walked his last 10 miles on the  Ipswich Defeat Dementia Walk   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Graham Rodgers vowed to walk 10 miles a day for 60 days and walked his last 10 miles on the Ipswich Defeat Dementia Walk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

From love, to anger, to tears, Graham Rodgers has experienced them all caring for his mother who lives with dementia.

Graham Rodgers vowed to walk  10 miles a day for 60 days and walked his last 10 miles on the  Ipswich Defeat Dementia Walk   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNGraham Rodgers vowed to walk 10 miles a day for 60 days and walked his last 10 miles on the Ipswich Defeat Dementia Walk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The 54-year-old provides around-the-clock care at home in Ipswich for his mother, Margaret Chambers, dedicating his life to give back to the woman who raised him.

In the two years since the 82-year-old was diagnosed with mixed dementia, Mr Rodgers has experienced "every emotion under the sun", and admits caring for her can be a tear-provoking task.

Mr Rodgers said: "I thought I was aware of what dementia was, but watching the rapid decline of someone's health and their memory slip away is utterly devastating and a real eye-opener.

"Caring for someone with dementia is incredibly challenging, you can go from frustration, to love to anger and every emotion under the sun.

Despite the rain, people came out in force to talk part in the  Ipswich Defeat Dementia Walk   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDespite the rain, people came out in force to talk part in the Ipswich Defeat Dementia Walk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"You live your life knowing someone but then that person you know starts to disappear - moments of happiness are few and far between."

His mother's diagnosis came a matter of months after he took early retirement from BT, he had spent years making plans for him and his family - but in a moment those plans disappeared.

He added: "You have to remember that these are people living with an illness. Sometimes they can say such horrible things but you can't forget that these are people you love.

"I would never do anything differently - but I'm not ashamed to say that there are days that I cry."

Despite the rain, people came out in force to talk part in the  Ipswich Defeat Dementia Walk   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDespite the rain, people came out in force to talk part in the Ipswich Defeat Dementia Walk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

In a bid to raise awareness for the condition, Mr Rodgers conjured the ambitious goal of walking one million steps - which he predicted would equate to 10 miles a day, every day for 60 days.

Come wind, rain or sun - or motorcycle accident - the Parkrunner has taken to the streets of Suffolk, ending his journey at Ipswich Waterfront on Saturday, October 12.

But instead of stopping at the million mark, he completed the Ipswich Dementia Walk organised by Alzheimer's Research UK and took the tally on the 60th day to 1.25million.

He added: "Anything we can do through research can be a real help. It is predicted that one in three children born every day will go on to live with dementia later in their lives."

Despite the rain, people came out in force to talk part in the  Ipswich Defeat Dementia Walk   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDespite the rain, people came out in force to talk part in the Ipswich Defeat Dementia Walk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Those interested in donating to Graham's fundraising page should visit his JustGiving page.

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