A Doncaster mum of two who was diagnosed with dementia when she was just 40 has released her story on film to help others.
Wendy Sharps, aged 47, started experiencing the symptoms of dementia when she was just 35, but after tests proved inconclusive it took her five years to receive a diagnosis.
Wendy from Conisbrough said: “When I was out and about I often didn’t recognise people who obviously knew me, and I’d sometimes get off the bus at the wrong stop.
“I knew something wasn’t right, but the tests came back negative, and my doctors thought I could be stressed or depressed.
Eventually after five years Wendy received her diagnosis and was referred into Doncaster’s Young Onset Dementia Service in Balby.
Wendy works tirelessly to raise awareness of young-onset dementia, giving talks at universities and conferences.
The 47-year-old also volunteers as an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Champion, encouraging people to make a positive difference to those living with dementia by giving them information about the personal impact of dementia, and what they can do to help.
Wendy has now decided to share her story on film to encourage other people who may be concerned they have the condition to see their GP.
She said: “I’ve never hidden my condition and I’ve always been open with my family and friends.
“Dementia meant I started a new chapter of my life – but I’m still a wife, mum and gran.
“I do have off days, but my family are wonderful, they know just what to do to get me going again – whether it’s a ride out in the car, or a visit from my grandchildren, they give me so much love and support.”
The message in Wendy’s film is that it is possible to live happily after a dementia diagnosis.
It shows her living her life as normally as possible, thanks to her family and support from staff and friends from the Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) Day Support Service where she visits twice a week, to receive support and share her experiences with others.
Wendy said: “It’s so important to me to share my film, to raise awareness, change attitudes and give hope to people who may be worried about receiving a dementia diagnosis.”
Watch Wendy’s video dementia video