Sunderland woman to take part in South Shields Memory Walk after her mum was diagnosed with dementia eight weeks ago

A woman from Sunderland is paying tribute to her mum as she takes part in the South Shields Memory Walk, just eight weeks after her mum was diagnosed.

Nicola Marlborough, 47, is set to join hundreds of fundraisers going the extra mile for Alzheimer’s Society at South Shields Memory Walk.

Nicola, from East Herrington, wants to pay tribute to her mum Ann, 76, who was diagnosed with dementia just eight weeks ago.

The mum-of-two, who is a Customer Care Adviser, says even though her mother was only recently diagnosed, her family has known about her condition for some time.

Nicola Marlborough with mum Ann.

Nicola said: “She began showing symptoms as far back as 2016, but things took a turn for the worse around 2018.

“At first it was just simple things, like forgetting the PIN for her bank card, which can happen to anyone. But there was also a change to her personality – she started to become snappy and argumentative, which was really out of character for her.

“Now she often doesn’t recognise me or my dad, even though they’ve been married 56 years. As for me, she just knows I’m the blonde girl who helps her. I think both dad and I are over the emotional stage now and have accepted that this is just part of her condition.”

In 2009, Nicola moved back in with her parents after splitting up with her partner and says that, although caring for a loved one with dementia can be tough at times, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Nicola Marlborough (front right) with brother Steven, sister Lynn and parents Craven and Ann.

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She added: “Mum can be hard work and it’s tough on my dad sometimes, who is 80, so I want to be there to support them. She is a bit of a walking addict – she would go out for walks all the time if she had her way but that’s not practical, so we have to keep her stimulated in other ways.

“She has also become very anxious and often gets tearful. She doesn’t recognise her own home – the home she’s lived in for 50 years – and keep thinking her parents, my grandparents who have been dead for many years, will be coming to pick her up.

“She looked after me for many years, so taking care of her now is the least I can do. Until the inevitable day comes – and we know it will – I want to be able to hold up my head and say I did everything I possibly could to keep her at home with me and dad.”

Ann also attends the Sunderland-based dementia support group North East Dementia Care three times a week.

Nicola will be taking part in Memory Walk with her friend Kirsty Calvert, who also has experience of dementia in her family.

She said said: “I didn’t know anything about the event until I saw a TV advert, so I signed up for it right away.

“I hadn’t thought of asking anyone else but then Kirsty saw what I was doing and asked if I wanted company, which I was delighted about. We’re both really looking forward to it.”

South Shields Memory Walk will take place at Bents Exhibition Park on Saturday, October 8.