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The Clive Project

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Clive's Story

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Clive Beaumont and his children
Clive Beaumont and his children

Clive was in his mid-forties when his career as an Army officer suddenly nose-dived. He had difficulty communicating with his colleagues, and his written work became increasingly terse and inadequate. He was made redundant in 1992; he was 45 and his children were 3 and 4. He never worked again.

After a fraught year of failed job applications and difficulties in coping at home, Clive was forced to look for a reason for his difficulties. Clive was diagnosed with early onset dementia in December 1993.

Clive lost the ability to read and write. He couldn't read a bed-time story to his children. He lost his driving licence, but still cycled everywhere. He became obsessed with time-keeping, and often delivered his children to school an hour early.

Clive had been a marathon runner and scuba diver. He was frustrated that his fastest-ever marathon time was 3 hrs and 01 minute - he was always hoping that his next marathon would be just 1 minute faster.

He rarely admitted that things were beyond him, and tried to live as normal a life as possible. He refused to accept help, and very little help was available. He attended a local day-centre for the elderly, and was often mistaken for a helper. He described himself as "half man, half biscuit", and cheerfully admitted that, while not very bright, he could lift heavy weights!

Helen Beaumont
Helen Beaumont
Clive's difficulties got worse, and he started to get lost. One day he went for a walk, and was eventually found 20 hours later and 25 miles away. I could no longer look after him and the children; Clive had to be looked after elsewhere. The only place prepared to look after him was 50 miles from his young family.

Clive was moved from nursing home to nursing home as his illness progressed, and his behaviour grew more challenging. He lost his speech entirely, but could still sing a few snatches of song. He never admitted defeat, and walked continuously, even when he started to walk into doors because he could no longer work out how to open them.

Clive died in 1999. He was 51.

By Helen Beaumont, wife of Clive and a Founder of The Clive Project

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