Dementia is a broad category of brain diseases that cause a long-term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember. The effects are great enough to affect a person’s daily functioning and can be heartbreaking for those around them, as they watch their loved one gradually lose the vital parts of their personality and memories of their relationship.

Anne Duncan’s beloved husband Bill has been living with dementia for the last 9 years and has ceased to recognize her as his wife. Heartbreaking as this must be, Anne has stayed lovingly by Bill’s side and recently received the most wonderful surprise.

Image credits: Anne Duncan

So while Bill can no longer grasp their past together he has fully embraced the present – and the love that so clearly resides deep in his heart has made itself apparent again! It just goes to show that true love cannot be suppressed, and will always find a way to express itself no matter what obstacles lie in its path.

Image credits: Anne Duncan

Because although dementia presents challenges to any relationship, it doesn’t mean that people can’t enjoy full, active lives. With love, care, patience and understanding those living with dementia can thrive, and surprise their loved ones just like Bill has! Their second wedding has touched them both and given them a wonderful and unexpected gift of happiness, one that might never have happened without the support of their family and close friends.

Image credits: Anne Duncan

Image credits: Anne Duncan

Image credits: Anne Duncan

Always remember, everyone living with dementia is still the same person you once knew despite the changes in their memory and behavior. Social isolation only exacerbates the condition, so please, don’t stop interacting with people because they may be having difficulties communicating or remembering things! Quality of life is dependent on interaction and relationships with others.

Image credits: Anne Duncan

Anne herself is keenly aware of this and so the couple founded the ‘Boogie in the Bar’ initiative, which holds dementia-positive afternoon dances in the Aberdeen and North East of Scotland area. Starting from just one monthly event – now fondly known as the ‘original boogie,’ there are now 17 boogies across the area, supporting hundreds of people to “get out, get up and get dancing.”

Image credits: Anne Duncan

Anne told the South West News Service that dancing is a shared love for the smitten couple, something that nurtures their bond and keeps them closer together than ever.

“It can be difficult adjusting to life with dementia for both the sufferer and their partner, and we’re always looking for ways to still enjoy ourselves,” she said. “We attended a friend’s party last year, and as Bill and I took to the dance floor, it was like all of our troubles melted away.”

Image credits: Anne Duncan

“Dancing together helped us forget dementia for that moment, and it was like my old husband was back in my arms – it was beautiful.”

Image credits: Anne Duncan

“We knew it could help other people in similar situations and give them a chance to escape their worries, so we set up a dementia-friendly disco and it’s been a real success.”

Image credits: Anne Duncan

Secretary/Treasurer of Boogie in the Bar, Eva Connell, told Bored Panda that The Boogie events are “open to everyone and are a way for people to combat loneliness and social isolation, to get together during the day and enjoy themselves in a warm, people-friendly environment where everyone is made to feel welcome and included regardless of their age or disabilities.”

Image credits: Anne Duncan

“They are a chance to get together with like-minded Boogiers listening, dancing or shuffling in their seat to hits from the 50s right up to present day.”

Image credits: Anne Duncan

In October 2017 Boogie in the Bar won the Best Community Support Initiative at Scotland’s Dementia Awards. Great work, Anne and Bill!

Image credits: Anne Duncan

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