How this mother and daughter are dealing with a dementia diagnosis
Judy Field's eyes light up when she talks about some of the new hobbies she's started sharing with her daughter, Karla, after Judy's dementia diagnosis in 2016.
"At home I've got to be focused," said Judy, who has binders full of pages pulled from adult colouring books.
Judy has what's referred to as young onset dementia, a rare condition that makes up 2-8% of dementia cases, according to the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
It was kinda like we were bumping heads at the beginning.- Karla Field
While Judy and Karla are close now, the year leading up to Judy's diagnosis was tense.
"I wasn't around much, I had my own life going on," said Karla, who started noticing signs during a routine visit with her mom.
"We ordered a pizza and she choked on it. Really bad. It scared me," she said, adding that having a conversation with her mom was nearly impossible at the time.
Judy moved in with her daughter later that year, so that Karla could help care for her mother.
"I remember that, I remember that distinctly," said Judy.
"It was scary for me," said Judy. "Then I went through my phase of being angry - why is she doing this to me?"
"I got frustrated. Like a lot," said Karla. "It was kinda like we were bumping heads at the beginning."
But she said things got easier and "started going uphill."
Dealing with dementia
"I'm young," said Judy, who attends day programs at the Alzheimer Society of Windsor and Essex County.
At 62, Judy likes to describe herself as "middle aged" and she enjoys being around some of the older people dealing with dementia at the day program because she feels like she can give back.
"In my position I can help," said Judy. "I don't feel like I'm in a little cave and can't do anything for anybody."
Karla said it helps her on days when things become stressful because she knows there's a group of people who are trained and ready to help her mother during the day.
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"I struggle with (trust) with people," said Karla. "But this place? I never, ever, ever ... have to worry because I know she goes and I can actually take a nap and sleep."
Both Judy and Karla said the key to handling an early onset dementia diagnosis is understanding that it can happen to people not considered senior citizens and to surround yourself with supportive people.