A family has spoken of their heartache after a beloved 39-year-old mother-of-three was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Kelly Sibbick, from Cleethorpes was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease a year after her sister Mandy Wilkins passed away from the same condition aged 43.
The family have already lost four relatives before the age of 45 to Alzheimer’s; Kelly’s mother, her aunty, her cousin and her sister Mandy.
Kelly’s daughter Jamie-Lee Sibbick said that the news has hit the family hard, but had also helped to pull them together to provide Kelly with as much support as possible.
Kelly Sibbick (centre right) was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease a year after losing her sister to the same condition. She’s pictured with husband Robert (left), daughter Jamie-Lee (second left), sister Jodie Wilkins (right) and Lola their pet dog
Jamie-Lee said: ‘When we found out that mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease it was really hard on us all, but something that we were sort of expecting, as we had been picking up on different things in the weeks prior, such as her being more forgetful.
‘We know how the disease can affect you, having gone through all of this before with many of our family members, including our mum’s sister Mandy, who passed away just last year.
‘Our plan is to just rally around her as much as we can, so that we can support her and keep life as normal as possible.
‘With my Aunty Mandy, she deteriorated at a very rapid pace, but we are hoping that now that mum has the medication that she needs, things won’t be as severe and we can keep her at home for as long as possible.’
Mandy (pictured) was diagnosed at the age of 37, and despite clinical trials in a bid to combat the condition, passed away in September
Mandy was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 37, and despite clinical trials in a bid to combat the condition, passed away in September last year with her family by her side.
Kelly has a five-year-old daughter Evie, who has been finding it very hard to understand what has happened to her mum.
Her family say they are hoping that over time she will eventually come to terms with her mum’s condition.
Jamie-Lee continued: ‘It is nearly impossible to explain to my little sister what is happening with mum.
‘I mean how do you tell a five year old that their mother has dementia?
‘Because she doesn’t understand she keeps saying things to mum like ‘your so forgetful’ and wondering while she forgets to do things,
‘But in a way I think that kind of helps, because mum just wants to be treated the same as she always has and that is what Evie will do.’
Her sister Jodie Wilkins, who works as a carer and has a lot of experience dealing with people with Alzheimer’s disease, says that she fears the worst, but with her families experience, feels that they can make things as easy as possible for her.
She said: ‘The best thing for us to do is to keep Kelly’s mind focused and carry on with life like we normally would.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.
During the course of the disease, proteins build up in the brain to form structures called ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. This means that over time more parts of the brain are damaged.
As this happens, more symptoms develop. They also become more severe with the earliest symptom tending to be lapses in memory.
People may go on to develop problems with other aspects of thinking, reasoning, perception or communication.
As Alzheimer’s progresses, problems with memory loss, communication, reasoning and orientation become more severe
Some people may have hallucinations in the later stages of Alzheimer’s and develop behaviours that seem unusual or out of character.
This could include agitation, restlessness or pacing, repeating the same question or reacting aggressively.
‘At the minute she is still with us mentally and can do everything that she would be able to normally, she knows when to make dinner, do they cleaning and go out to get the shopping, the only real issue is that sometimes she is a bit forgetful and can repeat herself a little bit.
‘We can notice her getting frustrated from time to time, and we just let her know that we love her and slag her off a bit so we don’t get too soppy.
‘I have found that calling her by the nicknames that I used when we were kids is a great way of helping her, because that also worked with Mandy.
‘When we talk about life when we were younger she doesn’t miss a beat.
‘Even when we are going to the shops and bump into old friends, she can almost tell you their whole life story.’