health

Delight as dementia sisters are reunited after 35 years


Dementia sistersMercury Press & Media

The moment two sisters with Alzheimers see each other for the first time in 15 years.

Our pictures show just how delighted Ann Patrick, 79, was to see long-lost big sister Marguerita Wilson, 88, again.

She pulled her in for a heart-warming hug and gently rubbed her cheek.

Mrs Wilson, a widow since 1985, whose condition is not as advanced as her sister’s was reduced to tears.

The two women had always been close but 15 years ago drifted apart as they found it harder to meet up.

Their reunion was arranged by chance after Mrs Patrick’s granddaughter Louise Gover, 39, who runs an Alzheimer’s day club met Mrs Wilson.

She was struck by the strong resemblance she bore to her grandmother and also had the same way of talking. She put two and two together and realised they were sisters.

So she contacted Mrs Wilson’s daughter Karina Benison to arrange a meeting at Mrs Patrick’s care home in Trow- bridge, Wiltshire, in May.

Mrs Gover, of Trowbridge, said: “My nan and Marguerita were delighted to see each other again, and everyone from family to the care-home nurses were crying a few tears.

Marguerita was really emotional.

She could not stop smiling – and burst into tears at one point.

NanMercury Press & Media

The reunion was arranged by chance after Mrs Patrick’s granddaughter Louise Gover,


She told me she was originally from Belgium, which is where my nan is from, and as we were chatting away from there we realised that she was in fact my nan’s sister

Louise Gover

“Unfortunately my nan’s Alzheimer’s is more advanced and she has difficulty with speech, but she clearly recognised her sister and was delighted to see her.

“She repeatedly stroked Marguerita’s face.

They sat together for a good hour and a half while everyone chatted.

It was really lovely.

“When I first met Marguerita I thought, ‘Gosh, she looks like my nan,’ and then when I was speaking to her I realised she had a similar accent.

“She told me she was originally from Belgium, which is where my nan is from, and as we were chatting away from there we realised that she was in fact my nan’s sister.

“As soon as I found that out I knew they had to meet up, so I arranged it with Marguerita’s daughter Karina and she came to the care home one Sunday afternoon.

They have since met up again and love seeing each other. It’s a truly wonderful story.”

Ann and Marguerita are two of five children born in Antwerp, Belgium, to an English mother and Belgian father.

According to Mrs Wilson, when she was 16 and Ann was eight their mother Mildred left her unhappy marriage and took her children back to England, where they have lived ever since.

Mrs Gover said: “My nan has had a colourful life. She was married four times and she worked as a head cook at a school and in a tennis ball factory.

Mercury Press & Media

Ann and Marguerita are two of five children born in Antwerp, Belgium.

“She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago when my grandad was in hospital. We moved her into a care home after she started forgetting who he was.

“But she still remembered Marguerita from all those years ago.”

Mrs Wilson’s daughter Karina, 60, also from Trowbridge said: “My mum adores Belgium and can still remember everything about it, even if she has problems remembering more recent things.

“When she first came to England she was one of four sisters and helped look after them at home. Then she started working in pubs before she met my dad Michael and had five children, me and my four brothers.

Two sisters reunited Mercury Press & Media

Mrs Gover posted a video of the sisters to show people can lead positive lives with dementia.

“My dad passed away in 1987 and she has been on her own ever since.

“It was so wonderful they got to see each other again.”

Mrs Gover has posted a video of the sisters’ meeting on Facebook to show people can still lead positive lives while living with dementia.

She said: “Unfortunately a lot of the things people read and see about dementia are negative.

“Of course, it is a horrible condition but people with dementia can still lead productive lives and enjoy themselves.”



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