The legacy of a “very special woman” from Lillington who battled with dementia at an unusually young age will live on through a new trust set up by her husband.
Pam Britton died at the age of 64 last February after developing blood clots in her lungs and brain. The former photography business director and hotel administration lecturer had been diagnosed with early onset dementia while she was still in her 50s, but - as the Courier has previously reported - her husband Tony, also 64, faced many struggles in his attempts to find her appropriate care.
After Mrs Britton spent some time in care homes in Warwick and Knowle, Mr Britton, who lives in Cubbington Road, decided to move her back home a few months before she died.
He said: “Pam had been very physically active, but then, over the course of a few months, her legs swelled up and she could no longer walk.
“Unfortunately the doctors did not pick up on it. Sometimes you get the impression that they don’t see through the dementia and see the person.
“She began to develop clots in her brain and would suffer from regular seizures. That’s when I got her home. She blossomed at home. People say that those with dementia have no awareness, but Pam knew exactly where she was - she knew she was where she should be.”
Describing his wife as a “very special woman”, Mr Britton, who now dedicates all his spare time to volunteering for dementia-related charities and organisations, said: “She deserved more than she got. So I committed myself to doing something. There has got to be something better for people in her situation.”
Mr Britton got in touch with Age UK Warwickshire, the headquarters of which are in Clemens Street in Leamington, which agreed to work in partnership with him to set up an advocacy service - called the Pam Britton Trust - for people who have been newly diagnosed with dementia and their carers.
A pilot scheme is being launched in Leamington, in which five GP surgeries are giving patients the option to be referred to a ‘navigator’ - someone who has experience in caring for people with dementia - to act as a point of contact and support.
Mr Britton said: “I need support from the community. Unless you have been physically involved with someone with dementia, it is still a very frightening subject, so often people distance themselves from it. But people are in need - this has got to be done.
“We need some coordinated help and support.”
Anyone who has experience of dementia who is interested in helping to support the trust can call Mr Britton on 07867 698073 or Age UK Warwickshire at its office in Clemens Street or call 458100.