Cartoonist Tony Husband supports Age Concern Lancashire's What the Flock campaign after his dad experienced loneliness through dementia

Tony Husband
Tony Husband

Tony Husband has given the #WTFLancs campaign his full support as he watched his dad, Ron, sink into a world of loneliness due to dementia.

Read more: Meet Lonk the sheep who will help lonely people feel less alone as Age Concern Lancashire launches What the Flock campaign and Here is why the befriending service is a lifeline for lonely people as Age Concern Lancashire launches What the Flock campaign

One of Tony Husband's drawings

One of Tony Husband's drawings


He says: “My dad had dementia for five or six years before he died more five years ago.
“He had it long before that but it is hard to say what is natural forgetfulness and what is more serious.

“It started with him not knowing how to tie a knot or tie his shoelaces.
“I would get phone calls with him asking how to work the remote control and when we were watching a football match, he would keep asking who was playing.
“Then it started building up and it became more obvious it was more than forgetfulness.

“Dad went for a memory test and he was diagnosed with dementia.
“He went through dark times. He lived in a cottage in the country, with neighbours on one side and across the road.
“In the early days, he would go out and visit us and we would visit him.
“But at night, he was lonely.
“When he could not drive, we had to make more of a commitment as a family to make sure he was not on his own and we visited him.

“His dementia manifested and I would get phone calls at night about a space ship. He told me I had to come and see and he was sending a Morse code using his Venetian blinds saying they were welcome to come for a cup of tea.
“I went to see him and we worked out it was car headlights.

Visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/WTFLancashire.
www.ageisjustanumber.org.uk/wtflancs

“We had a laugh about it but a few weeks later I got the same phone call at 3am.
“But the next day, we saw a cow had broken through the fences and trashed the garden. He must have been petrified.
“That loneliness was making him lose his grip on reality where he was imagining all sorts of things and the dementia makes it worse.”

Tony, of Hyde, adds the WTFLancs campaign covers all aspects of loneliness, and it is not just restricted to the older generation.

He says: “I support anything that raises awareness of loneliness and I am proud to be part of this campaign.
“We are talking about intervention so people can keep an eye out on their neighbours and check they are okay. Speak to them and be friendly. Ask if they want any shopping or any help.
“Loneliness can affect the mental health and drive people to suicide. And loneliness does not only affect elderly people as young people can be sat at home on their own, feeling isolated.
“The campaign #WTFLancs is quite trendy and fun. The WTF beer is also relevant as it is about socialising.”

Tony has described his experiences with his dad’s dementia in a book, Take Care, Son. The book is available via www.amazon.co.uk/Take-Care-Son-Story-Dementia/dp/1472115562.