A Wallington man wants to look after his grandmother with Alzheimer’s after she looked after him his whole life.

Ricky Layal’s grandmother had always been the matriarch of the family,  as she lived next door to Ricky’s parents all his life and was the hostess of family gatherings.

In 2017, Ricky began noticing signs that something was wrong with his grandmother as she was becoming forgetful and mixing up people’s names.

The Layal family initially thought this was due to old age, but over time, her condition worsened when she forgot how to do everyday tasks and neglected her appearance.

In 2020, Ricky’s grandmother, who was in her mid-eighties at the time, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Lockdown meant Ricky and his family lost out on valuable time together with his grandmother.

Ricky used to see her every day, but now that he’s a husband and father, he finds it challenging to balance his responsibilities.

Ricky said: “I still try to have video calls with her every day, but I feel guilty that I don’t see her as much. Gran looked after me all my life, and now I want to look after her.”

Since Ricky’s gran was diagnosed, he has reached out to Dementia UK’s Helpline for support.

He said: “It’s reassuring to have someone listen without judgement.

“The Admiral Nurses offered practical advice, like suggesting that we buy some colouring books for Gran to keep her mind active.

“The nurse also reminded me to take care of my own mental health.”

Ricky is sharing his story as part of Dementia UK’s new campaign We Live With Dementia - which highlights how if you love someone living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you are living with it too.

In addition to updating the free guide which was downloaded over 39,000 times in 2023, Dementia UK has launched brand new ‘bite-size guides’ as part of the campaign, covering specific topics including young onset dementia, how to get a diagnosis and a helpful guide to ‘who’s who’ in dementia care.