A BRAVE wife has spoken out about her devastation of watching her husband who has dementia “deteriorate”.

Andrew Tucker was just 69 when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

His wife retired teacher Jane Tucker, from Halstead, has shared her family’s experiences of the disease to raise awareness of the condition.

Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging people to sign up to a Memory Walk which see thousands walk in memory or support of a loved one with dementia.

Jane is doing the Chelmsford Memory Walk to support Andrew.

Andrew, also a retired teacher, received his diagnosis after leaving teaching.

Jane said: “It was obvious he was not coping at home by himself and our children said he was just getting used to having so much time on his hands.”

“After a succession of tests and at the age of 69, the consultant at Colchester hospital diagnosed a mild to moderate level of Alzheimer’s.”

Dementia runs in Andrew’s family, affecting nearly all of his mother’s ten siblings as well as a cousin.

Jane added: “The consultant said he would have expected Andrew to be ten to 15 years older than he was when he presented.

“He also said that because of the job Andrew had, he was an assistant head at a large secondary school teaching physics, he would be in the top 10 per cent of the population intelligence wise and would therefore have more ways of concealing his problems.”

Andrew’s condition also led to the ‘devastating’ decision to surrender his driving license.

Jane said: “Andrew had to stop driving until tested. He could not follow two instructions given at the same time and although he was told he could drive until tested again in six months later he should ‘consider’ giving up now.

“With persuasion from myself and our children he surrendered his license. It was devastating. Andrew had loved driving cars and bikes and it seemed to me that from that moment he stopped ‘fighting’ the disease.”

Jane added Andrew had two “sun-downing” episodes where he said he did not live at their cottage and had to go home to his parents, who had passed away years earlier.

After Covid struck Andrew deteriorated and was moved into a care home.

Jane said it was devastating to watch.

“Everything closed down and Andrew did not have the stimulation he so needed,” she said.

“He did not understand what was going on. Andrew deteriorated quickly.

“A friend put me in touch with a carer and she came once a week and would take Andrew out for a couple of hours. She was a God send but eventually Andrew had to go into a care home, where he is now.

“I had advice on the phone from Alzheimer’s Society, who always got back to me. A calm, patient and understanding voice giving sound advice on the end of the line was a life saver.

“I am volunteering for the Memory Walk as I really want to help Alzheimer’s Society in some small way, to thank them for their help and to contribute to further research into this devastating disease. The help and advice I got from them was invaluable.”

The sponsored Memory Walks are free to sign up and taking place across 24 locations this September and October.

To sign up to an Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk, visit memorywalk.org.uk