Annette and her husband were struggling to cope as carers for her parents and while working full time, until their 'guardian angel' Mandy (pictured above with Mary) came along...

Annette says: “We were at breaking point when we heard about Alzheimer’s Support and I just wanted to curl up in a corner. As well as being mum and dad’s carers, my husband and I were also working full time. But since the charity has been supporting my parents we can spend more quality time with them.

“And oh my God, mum’s support worker Mandy is such a ray of sunshine. Her visits give dad a break, even if he just stays in the house or potters around the garden. Mandy’s incredible, like our guardian angel.

“We were already aware of dementia as mum’s brother had it and my parents visited him every week. Then her second brother was diagnosed. And around three or four years ago my sister kept saying: “Mum keeps forgetting this and that. Mum’s not right.”

 “Trowbridge Medical Centre was fantastic when mum was diagnosed. They sat us down and explained everything and where to go for support. It was hard at first as I had to take a lot of time off work to organise their care, but my parents got funding to have a support worker for four hours a week.

“It’s been very hard for dad and very draining. He’s 89 and mum’s 86 and they still get up at 5am as they used to when dad was working. He doesn’t get a full night’s sleep as he’s always listening out for mum and keeping an eye on her. So by 9am he’s fallen asleep and mum then gets angry and says ‘He doesn’t talk to me.’ It’s frustrating for them both, but they’ve been together for 57 years and still love each other.

“I want my parents to have the best time of their life as possible and Mandy knows exactly how to achieve that. Mandy has got mum doing things I never thought I would see again. Mum used to be frightened of going out because she felt safe at home, but Mandy said ‘Let’s just go out for a drive for 10 minutes and we can just sit in the car’. Then she took mum to Iford Manor. I was almost in tears when I saw the photos.

Mandy has such a kind heart

“It’s not just what she does, Mandy has such a kind heart too. She knows my dad’s former boss of 52 years and last year she took my parents to see the farm where he worked. His boss put on a cream tea for them and showed dad all around the farm and what his life had been.

“Now my parents are looking to the future, which they never used to. Before if I wanted to do something for mum she would say: “There’s no point, I won’t be here tomorrow,” which is heart breaking for a daughter to hear, but I knew what wasn’t my mum.

Since Mandy came I haven’t heard her say that. Now she’s got back the passion she used to have and both she and dad feel wanted. And if my husband and I are up against it on Monday and Wednesday we don’t have to go round because Mandy is there. The stress it takes off you is great - that’s what Alzheimer’s Support has done for us.

"I don’t know what my parents would be doing without Mandy, probably just sitting there and looking out of the window. Mandy’s given them a purpose. It’s more than a job for her, I can’t praise her enough.

“Mum does get confused, but I can still have a fantastic conversation with her and thanks to Mandy she’s laughing and smiling and she cuddles me every day.”