By: Nicholas Jones

 

Rosalie Cunningham played golf through her 70s but dementia stopped that and other more mundane activities.

After a pan caught fire, her stove fuse was removed by her daughter, Paula Sole, and a note left in its place.

“I knew Mum would ring someone to come fix it,” Sole recalled. “So there was a note saying, ‘My mother has dementia, so don’t replace the fuse.'”

Her mother had home help and was visited by Sole twice daily. Things came to a head after a urinary tract infection worsened behaviour changes.

“When I arrived on a Saturday morning she was sitting there bright and perky saying, ‘Oh, are we going out for lunch?’ And she was sitting in poos and wees on the sofa and stinking to high heaven. She’d been there all night, because she was struggling at that stage to know what was day or night.”

After a stay in hospital, Cunningham eventually moved to a rest home, where she lived for about three years.

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