Families need support when their loved ones suffer
PUBLISHED: 10:36 19 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:57 07 September 2010
OLD age can be cruel. If you are unfortunate to suffer from illness – it can be unbearable. This is never more true than when a person is diagnosed with mental illness. The harsh reality of such illness was highlighted this week after broadcaster John Suc
OLD age can be cruel. If you are unfortunate to suffer from illness - it can be unbearable.
This is never more true than when a person is diagnosed with mental illness. The harsh reality of such illness was highlighted this week after broadcaster John Suchet revealed all about living with his wife's dementia.
At the age of just 67, Bonnie Suchet has been suffering from the debilitating disease for three and a half years. It has irrevocably changed her life, and that of her family, forever.
In a soul-baring interview this week, Mr Suchet - a respected television journalist - revealed his plight to the world in a bid to raise awareness of the condition.
He told how the 26-year relationship he shares with his wife has changed dramatically, and of the hurt and frustration he feels as a result.
It is impossible not to feel moved by his words even when he remains upbeat, referring to his "sweet, lovely Bonnie".
One of the incentives which led to his heartfelt revelations was to highlight the drastic need for increased support for families.
Mr Suchet, 64, is full of praise for Admiral Nurses, a support service dedicated to families dealing with dementia. He pays tribute to his nurse, Ian Weatherhead, who's help and advice has proved invaluable during times of stress.
Worringly, it transpires that Mr Suchet is one of the lucky few who has access to this vital support mechanism. Official figures show there are only 70 nurses nationwide and none at all in Scotland.
This is disturbing to say the least. Often it is easy to put the families who are living with a loved one's condition to one side.
This case has highlighted the family's needs as being just as important as that of the sufferer.
It is vital the government and medical authorities intervene, take note of this situation and find a way to deliver this important lifeline of a service.
There is a reason why Mr Suchet has opened his heart to the world and we must listen and act.
A touching interview with Mr Suchet appears in our Wood&Vale edition this week.
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