A donation this Christmas could help someone like Margo, who was feeling overwhelmed when her husband, Ken, was diagnosed with dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Read Margo's Story below. 

Margo's Story 

'When my husband Ken was diagnosed with dementia and Parkinson’s disease, the news came as a real shock to me and my daughter, Jude.  Looking back, I think the symptoms had been there for a couple of years, but it just hadn’t clicked for us. Once we got the diagnosis, that’s when it hit us.

I wanted to protect Ken from the diagnosis and from what was happening to him, but I felt so lost.

I just didn’t know what to do or where to go for help. 

I remember sitting at the dinner table with Ken one night and he turned to me and said, ‘Why did it have to happen to me Margo?’ On any other night I would have said, ‘You don’t have to worry, we’ll manage, I’ll look after you.’ But that night I couldn’t answer. I just couldn’t find the words.

Even with Jude’s background as a doctor we found navigating the healthcare system overwhelming. There were often long delays in appointments, by which time there were huge changes in what Ken was able to do.

Getting support and advice from Age NI was an absolute lifeline.

I came across Age NI when I was looking for advice online. They were able to provide support on a whole range of issues, big and small, and they did it all with care, compassion and expertise. It was through my conversations with Gary, from the Advice and Advocacy team, that Ken got a place in Age NI’s day centre in Ballyclare.

The day centre was brilliant for Ken, and the staff were so incredible. They never treated Ken like someone with dementia; they just treated him like Ken. That meant a lot to us.   

That’s why I’d like to ask you to consider making a gift to Age NI this winter.

Ken attended the day centre once a week, and he made so many friends there. Going to the day centre was an opportunity for him to get out of the house and socialise. He got to take part in all sorts of activities, and days out and he always enjoyed his time there.

Ken sadly passed away in October 2018, just 14 months after being diagnosed. We miss him so much and he has left a huge hole in our lives. I was so lucky to know Ken and have him in my life for forty six years. When I look back on our time together I can honestly say that every day was a happy one.

Ken’s passions in life were DIY and Chelsea. However, his number one joy was Jude She was the apple of his eye.

They had such a special relationship and that’s why Jude decided to take part in the Belfast City Marathon earlier this year, running in his memory. She was supported by sixteen of her friends, who had all met and loved Ken over the years, and they went on to raise over £4,500. I was so overwhelmed by that outpouring of support. It meant so much to both me and Jude. 


If you can, please consider making a donation to Age NI this winter.

I really can’t thank Age NI enough and I know Jude feels the same. They were there for my family when we felt completely lost and overwhelmed. Their support meant that Ken was able to find friendship and understanding at a very difficult time in his life.  

If someone you know is struggling with ill-health, money worries or grief pick up the phone to Age NI. No one should have to cope with their problems alone. Knowing Age NI is there is so reassuring.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. And thank you for your support of Age NI.'

Last year our Advice & Advocacy service was there for over 9,400 people who were feeling overwhelmed, anxious or distressed.

You can help, by making a donation today. 

Every gift, no matter how big or small, has the ability to change an older person’s life.

To donate click the button below. 


If you or an older person you know needs help and support call our advice line on FREEPHONE 0808 808 7575. Lines are open 8am to 7pm.