Honitonian Pat Perryman.

Honitonian Pat Perryman. - Credit: Archant

Honiton Dementia Action Alliance is currently trying to raise £150,000 in three years to bring an Admiral Nurse to Honiton.

Pat Perryman, 78, of Honiton, is backing our Admiral Nurse campaign.

She said that, had the town’s hospital not been there, an Admiral Nurse would have been ‘invaluable’ in helping her family cope as her husband battled Alzheimer’s.

Pat said: “My husband Derek died in 2016 after developing Alzheimer’s nine years before. The first signs of his illness became apparent the first time I realised he couldn’t read a map. We were holidaying in Italy in 2007 and he was always a good map reader.

“I was driving and suddenly realised he could not read the map. At the time, I did not pay too much attention.

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“However, three years on, it became clearer that there was a problem because he failed to remember things. Derek could remember things from his childhood, but could not remember a clutch of minor things. We went to the doctor and Derek was asked a few questions – such as who was the Prime Minister. He answered some, but could not answer all of them, which was an indication that not all was well.

“The GP referred Derek to a specialist, who examined him and asked him key questions, including drawing a clock face. That would seem easy for most, but he started at 1 o’clock in the position of 12 o’clock, so by the time he had made his way round, he could not complete the task.

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“Derek was then diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment. We were told go away and return when we felt his condition had deteriorated a bit.

“A couple of years went by and the memory problems slowly worsened. We went back to our GP and he arranged for a specialist to visit our home and she was the one who had to determine what type of dementia he had. Her verdict was Alzheimer’s.

“Derek was started on a regular round of medication and there was an immediate improvement. The dosage was increased and that helped him sit on a level playing field for the next two years. It pressed the pause button on the progression of his disease.

“However, in May last year, Derek collapsed and was rushed to Wonford Hospital, where he remained for a week. Much to our relief, he was transferred to Honiton Hospital, where he was assessed and cared for by the medical staff.

“Had the hospital not been here, an Admiral Nurse would have been invaluable in helping us as a family cope with the situation. It would have been somebody to support us throughout the process. It was decided Derek needed a specialist care home, and he was transferred to The Koppers in Kilmington, where they cared for him until the end.

“Derek and I were one year short of our diamond wedding anniversary. He was a great husband, dad and granddad and is always remembered by his family.”

Visit www.justgiving.com/honitonadmiralnurse to donate.

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