• Text Size:
  • A
  • A
  • A

Dad savours each moment after life-changing diagnosis

Published in the NZ Herald

When Warren Portsmouth was diagnosed with early-onset dementia five years ago, at 57, one of his biggest worries was forgetting his daughter Alana.

Now, the Auckland father-of-two chooses to focus on making every moment he has the "best and happiest" he can. However, Mr Portsmouth admitted things were not always so easy.

He said the breaking point came when he was living with his daughter, Alana Portsmouth, in Auckland. He had been fired from jobs in Australia and struggled to find work in New Zealand.

Mr Portsmouth said it was a financially and emotionally tough time for both of them.

"One night, I just walked out and came back two days later when I calmed down."

He had walked around Auckland, in the middle of winter, and lost money at the casino before eventually returning home.

Just after that, Mr Portsmouth was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and it was decided he should be placed in care.

Mr Portsmouth is one of 50,000 Kiwis Alzheimers New Zealand says are living with dementia.

Recent estimates from the organisation, which launches its annual month-long appeal today, showed the number of people living with the condition was set to double in the next 20 years.

To help out Alzheimers New Zealand, you can go to your local Countdown and buy a pack of specially marked lamingtons or shortbread.