'It feels like I'm disappearing' - Bristol man shares reality of living with dementia

Chris Richmond told ITV News West Country that living with dementia has made him feel out of control of his own life.

A man from Bristol has shared his experience of living with dementia, saying that "it feels like he's disappearing".

Chris Richmond, 71, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2017 and now receives full-time care.

Speaking to ITV News West Country, Mr Richmond said the condition has made him feel like he's losing control of his own life.

He said: "It's absolutely awful because I'm so used to being in control, knowing what's going on, and now I don't know what's going on half the time.

"That to me is rather frightening. It's disturbing. It's sort of like, well I don't know where the future is taking me."

According to Alzheimer's Research UK, around one in two people will be affected by dementia, either by having it or looking after a loved one.

It has been described as a "ticking time bomb" for the healthcare system, with nearly one million people across the country currently living with the condition.

Mr Richmond was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2017, and now receives full-time care.

Mr Richmond's wife, Angela, was a professional carer and now looks after her husband full-time.

She told ITV News West Country that as his condition has progressed, communicating with him has become increasingly difficult.

"It was like I was talking through a gauze. He didn't get what I was saying. He was genuinely confused as to what I was actually saying," Mrs Richmond explained.

"His memory is still there so he still knows all those types of things, but sometimes he struggles."

Mrs Richmond said the worst thing about the condition is the "not knowing".

She said: "He's only 71 now, so really, if we've got to go on 20 years, it's only gonna... We just don't know. I think that's the worst thing with dementia, you just don't know."

Professor Liz Coulthard, associate professor in dementia neurology University of Bristol, said there is currently no cure for the condition, but there is reason for hope.

"There are a couple of drugs that have been positive in clinical trials and that's exciting," she explained.

"But they only slow down the condition by about 20% to 30% over eighteen months."

Professor Liz Coulthard, associate professor in dementia neurology at the University of Bristol told ITV News West Country there are ways to prevent the condition

She added: "We need to focus on research so we can find the right sort of treatments that are going to help people and research into how we care for people.

"We might not be able to stop the disease, but we might be able to help people have a better quality of life."

Support and advice for those living with dementia or caring for those with the condition can be found here:

Bristol Dementia Action Alliance working towards enabling communities to become more dementia aware.

Alzheimer’s Society offers personalised information, support and advice. You can call them on 0333 150 3456.

Dementia UK offers advice and support to families who are living with dementia.

Alzheimer's Research UK carries out dementia research but also answers questions about dementia and dementia research. The charity's helpline is 0300 111 5 111 and can provide help and guidance.

Age UK has advice on a range of topics. It runs a free national helpline on 0800 055 6112.

The Carers Trust provides information and advice on its website for carers.

Carers UK is a national charity for carers, providing information and advice from benefits to practical support.