I was very sad to hear of the passing of Mott the Hoople drummer Dale Griffin, who died of Alzheimer’s disease. “All the Young Dudes”, is a very nostalgic song, which takes me back to my school days – a song that really captured the 1970s!
Dale was, I understand, a committed supporter of the Alzheimer’s Society, and often spoke about his own battle with dementia. Back in 2010, when he would have just turned 60, a tragically early age to contract this devastating disease, he said this: “I used to be fearless, but Alzheimer’s has stopped me in my tracks. It is my dreadful little bug and I have to fight to keep it from controlling me. Alzheimer’s has prevented me from doing a lot of the things I love – like reading and writing – but I try to keep as relaxed and easy-going as possible.’
I have often written of my own mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, and that was at a time in the 1980s when the disease was not universally recognised and people who were suffering from dementia were dismissed as “part and parcel of growing old” (yes that is what the doctor said to me in 1989).
Thankfully the world has long moved on, and while the disease certainly gets the recognition it deserves, it does not get the funding. The disease currently costs the UK over £26 billion a year, yet only £74 million is spent in research. £30,000 a year is spent each person suffering with dementia. Yet only £90 is invested per person in research.
When I hear and read of the heartache Alzheimer’s disease brings not only to the personal suffering to the family itself I’m not in the least bit surprised. I remember that all very well, in particular the denial. I simply could not accepted at the time, and there were precious few resources for me to study which would have helped me and my family come to terms. When I read of the sad passing the Dale Griffin I read up again on the statistics. Almost 10,000,000 each year worldwide will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. That is one person every 3.2 seconds.
At The Carer we publicise fundraising events as much we can. I am a huge admirer of the many people who trek, climb mountains, bike ride and a multiple of things to raise money for research into Alzheimer’s, so please keep them coming!
Editor of The Carer