An East Lancashire woman has shared her experience of caring for her husband with dementia as part of Carers Week.

Jan Greenwood, 84, from Haslingden, cares for her husband Fred, 86, a former businessman.

Dementia is a progressive condition caused by diseases of the brain and common symptoms include changes in memory, plus thinking and behaviour.

Symptoms worsen over time, but with treatment and support people can live well with the condition for some time – years in some cases.

Jan said: “Fred was diagnosed with dementia four and a half years ago but we don’t know what kind, he’s never had a brain scan. I don’t know if it’s too late to find out now.

“He’s getting worse now and evenings are particularly hard. He can’t sit still and needs constant stimulation. He’ll go to bed at 8pm then get up and fully dressed at 10pm ready to go out for the day.

“During the day he’ll keep asking to go out, we’ll go to the market or the shops but then he’ll want to come home straight away, only to then want to go out again. He’s so demanding now and he never used to be.

“He’s got memory loss and talks about the past a lot, he thinks we live in the flat from when we first got married. But thankfully he still knows who I am and recognises our children.

“He doesn’t talk much to me now, it’s very sad. I’m tired, and we’re looking into respite care for him to go to for a week.

"But we’ve not been apart at all since we married 60 years ago, he’s never even had a hospital stay so I don’t know how it’ll go for either of us.”

Fred attends The Filo Project, a social enterprise offering unique dementia daycare within hosts’ homes for small groups of socially isolated older people with early to moderate dementia.

A Filo day aims to feel like a relaxed day spent with friends. Hosts collect small groups of clients and drive them to their homes for a shared day and a home-cooked lunch.

Activities flex to each group’s interests and abilities, such as baking, jigsaws, singing or crafting.

The more intimate setting allows people to grow in confidence, make friends and reduce their risk of physical and mental health issues associated with isolation.

Meanwhile, family carers have regular, extended respite from the challenges of looking after a loved one with dementia.

Jan added: “Fred goes twice a week to The Filo Project and enjoys playing dominoes and socialising with other people.

"The hosts are absolutely marvellous with him and he comes home telling me how nice they are to him. He doesn’t eat much now, but they’ll do him a home-cooked lunch.

“Last month we had our diamond wedding anniversary party and instead of gifts asked for donations toward Filo.

"We raised £350 which we have asked go towards activities and resources for groups here in the North West.”

Dr Liz Dennis, The Filo Project's co-director, also said: “At The Filo Project we are in a unique position to help our clients’ families as we see them every week and get to know them well.

"We notice when carers are struggling and can proactively offer support at the earliest opportunity, and the difference it makes shows that good care can be an effective treatment in itself.”