A FAMILY has been left heartbroken after a mum-of-two was diagnosed with dementia aged just 35.
Barbara Bamford needs round-the-clock care after she was struck down with the memory-robbing condition.
The former school cook now struggles to recognise her daughters Chloe, 14, and Sophie, 12.
They just want “their old mum back”, says their dad, Jonathan, of Romsey, Hampshire.
He explained there were inklings of her condition two years ago.
Subtle changes in her personality included her saying “love you” when saying goodbye to the postman, or even random strangers – like she did to their kids.
Barbara also forgot what she’d bought at the shops, and simple facts.
Jonathan was stunned when she was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in April 2019.
The past six months have seen her uncommon condition rapidly decline, and she now lives permanently in a dementia specialist residential care home.
Barbara is one of the youngest there, as dementia mostly affects people over the age of 65.
One of the very few things she does still remember is her husband’s pet name, “Bam Bam”.
Binman Jon met Barbara back in 2003, after mutual pals introduced him to the cook and he quickly fell for her feisty personality.
Fourteen years later, “Barb grew distant from us, taking herself to bed a lot more than normal and was less interested in going out as a family,” Jonathan said.
Although she had suffered from depression, “suddenly it got a lot worse very quickly and although the doctors tried her on more tablets, they didn’t work.
“Barb doesn’t drink alcohol, but our neighbour actually asked me if she had started drinking because they’d noticed she was slurring her words a lot when they spoke.”
It took more than a year for her to be referred to a neurologist, after doctors repeatedly sent her away with prescriptions for depression medication, which made no difference.
The consultant left Jonathan “really shocked”, though, when he dismissed her as suffering “nothing major”.
A determined Jonathan insisted upon further diagnostic tests.
A brain perfusion imaging SPECT scan – that uses nuclear imaging to see blood flow to the brain – showed significant changes at the front of Barbara’s brain.
We see Barb two-to-three times a week, but we all miss her every single day.
Late last year, Barbara was officially diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.
It’s an uncommon type of dementia that mainly affects the front and sides of the brain and causes problems with behaviour and language.
Given the length of time to correctly diagnose her, Jonathan’s angry that the family has lost precious time together, before her condition declined further.
He said: “My girls and I feel like if we’d been listened to in the first place, then we could have done so much more before Barb’s condition deteriorated this far.”
The decision to have his wife moved to the home was difficult, but in August she fell and broke her ankle and shin in two places, and has needed constant supervision ever since.
Jonathan said: “We see Barb two-to-three times a week, but we all miss her every single day and she will always be a massive part of our family.
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“Even though it’s different now, Barb will always have a place in my heart and that will never stop.”
The Sun Online reported last year how Jordan Adams, then aged 23, was thought to be one of the youngest adults in the UK to face dementia.
He was warned that he was unlikely to live beyond his 50s.