Wheeler centre dating qualities to look for in a man when dating
He was 75 years old, retired for less than a decade. He spent a lot of time outdoors in the woods behind his house in Downpatrick in County Down, Northern Ireland, at one with nature, mellowing in old age."He had been quite a stern father, I suppose," Wheeler says, "a real character. He became much more gentle, sweet; a lovely man."Then came the memory loss – and with it an abrupt change of character. His family grew concerned because, Wheeler says, "It was obvious that something was wrong. I think he didn't know how to deal with what was happening to him."There were hospital tests, then a diagnosis: Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia.
He was very difficult with my mother; he took things out on her. Wheeler knew little about the condition; few of us, it seems, do – though Wheeler hopes now to help right this by working with the Alzheimer's Society's Dementia Friends programme. The Alzheimer's Society's head of policy, George Mc Namara, says that 520,000 people in the UK currently suffer – but we are an ageing population, and the figures are spiralling.
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"By next year it will be 850,000," Mc Namara says, "and 44 million worldwide.
By 2051, we estimate two million in the UK alone will have it."Research into the illness is under-funded, which means greater knowledge into how and why it occurs – much less finding any potential cure – is many years away.
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"With dementia, we are now where we were with cancer 20, 30 years ago," says Mc Namara. We need to change this, because it's a terrible illness to endure."As it was for George Wheeler.