What Dementia Looks Like: Man’s Touching Photo Essay Of Mom’s Dementia Battle Goes Viral [Photos]

A picture is worth a thousand words.

While some people may only consider the quote to be just another notable cliché, it speaks volumes when viewing one man’s latest photo essay. On the morning of May 18, Jake Heath decided to share photos of his mom, Jacquie, with the world. So, he took to reddit in honor of Dementia Awareness Week with eleven captivating photos. Now, the photos have gone viral.

Back in 2007, his 58-year-old mom was diagnosed with Pick’s disease, a rare neurodegenerative disease classified as a form of early onset dementia. According to the Huffington Post, she was initially misdiagnosed, as her symptoms of emotional outbursts and occasional confusion were attributed to menopause. However, doctors later discovered her condition was much more severe than they initially thought.

During an exclusive interview with Mirror Online, Jake recalled the day they were informed about his mother’s ailing condition.

“When we first heard of mom’s diagnosis, it was heartbreaking. My parents were living in Toronto at the time, and [my sister] Zoe and I were sharing a unit here in Sydney. Dad called me at work and told me to Skype him as soon as Zoe and I got home — didn’t matter what time. The call was very blunt,” Jake recalled. “He said, ‘Your mother is going to die.’ “

Now, Jack’s riveting photos taken over the last 10 years show just how debilitating the ailing disease is. Although many people have probably read about the disease, his compelling photos tell a much more detailed story without many words. The eleven photos he shared are documentation of her heartbreaking decline and deteriorating health, dating back to 2005.

Here’s Jake’s photo essay detailing “what dementia looks like.”

This was taken in 2005 or so. At this point, Jacquie had Pick's Disease, but it had been misdiagnosed as menopause. She would be about 48 here.
On the beach, around 2010. Lots of Jacquie around. She can't remember too much though.
2010 again. Riding on the back of dad's motorbike was one of her favourite things to do. She got quite terrified when the helmets were on, but once moving had a blast. This had to stop in 2011, when an on-bike paranoia attack nearly caused an accident.
Beach-time walks. Weight is falling off. Conversation is non-existent.
The birth of her first grandchild. She had been looking forward to being a grandmother for years.
Still knows how to party. #YOLO.
Cuddles with her 14 month old grandson. He's very careful with her, knows she's special.
She doesn't walk very much anymore. And she has lost a large amount of weight.
Fun times at the beach. She's 58 here. Her eyes aren't always open, and if they are, she's staring into the void.
Sometime's we'll move to her to beanbags on the floor.
She still smiles and laughs sometimes. I have no idea why. I really hope she dies soon.

Jacquie Heath’s heartbreaking photo viral has gone viral, with more than two million views and over 2,300 comments. Although his mother’s decline is extremely heartbreaking, he admits there is a silver lining. “The silver-lining of this illness is that it has brought us closer together as a family, and it has given us a chance to love Jacquie the way she loved us.”

[Image(s) via Imgur, Reddit]