A mum has spoken of her anguish at forgetting her own daughter after she was diagnosed with dementia – at just 39 YEARS OLD.
Kelly Watson, now 41, has to attend a dementia support group three times a week to help with her memory.
She is the youngest there by nearly 20 years following her early onset.
The single mother started to show signs of the illness at 37, when she suffered mood swings, lethargy, memory loss and a lack of co-ordination.
Over the next two years, Kelly lost her job as a civil servant after her symptoms grew steadily worse – with medics describing her as “just depressed”.
She is scared of what her life will be like in the future and fears the devastating possibility of forgetting her 17-year-old daughter, Holly.
Kelly, who lives in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, said: “I’m terrified of forgetting my daughter and not being there to see her grow up.
“I try not to think about the future because it gets me stressed and upset. All I can do is spend time with my family and hope for the best.
“I’m terrified of forgetting them, but feel so lucky to have their love and support.”
In 2013, Kelly and Holly moved back in with mum Moira, 62, and her stepfather William, 52, an engineer, in Gateshead as bathing, cooking and dressing herself became impossible.
Finally, Kelly was given MRI scans and tests which revealed she had “cognitive decline” and in June 2014, on her 41st birthday, she received the diagnosis of early onset dementia in writing.
Just three years earlier, Kelly was outgoing, bubbly and loved going out with her sisters at the weekends.
But, aged 37 she started feeling lethargic, suffering with insomnia and slurring her words.
She would forget words when speaking and found it hard to concentrate and balance.
Over the next two years she stopped going to Moira’s house and going out at the weekends.
In that time, she developed tremors in her eyes and mouth, causing her speech to slur.
By 2013, aged 39, Kelly required an assistant to talk on the phone and take notes for her in her work as a civil servant.
Her mum Moira, a retired factory worker, suggested she be tested for dementia, something her GP ruled out because “she was so young and only affects people over 50”.
But Kelly’s disorientation grew worse and she was regularly losing her purse and keys on her commute on public transport – so she started commuting at 5.45am to “avoid the ordeal”.
Three months later Kelly’s manager dismissed her because she could no longer do her job.
Like Alice in the Oscar winning film Still Alice, Kelly has had to explain to her 17 year old daughter, Holly, that one day she may not recognise her.
Heartbreakingly, Kelly says she has also accepted that she will never fall in love or get married.
Now, fighting a condition she knows will only get worse, the mum says she’s scared she’ll forget her parents, daughter and siblings Lisa, 39, and Michael and Michelle, 43 in the future.
Kelly’s mum Moira added: “Kelly is desperate to watch Still Alice because she feels alone as a young woman with this disease. To me, it would be like watching her future on screen.”