05/18/2015 11:37 am ET | Updated May 18, 2015

Son Shares Touching Photo Series Chronicling His Mother's Early Onset Dementia

Jake Heath

Jake Heath woke up this morning after having a nightmare that his mother had died. It was one of those all-too-real dreams that prompted him to take action. "It hit me really hard," he told The Huffington Post in an interview.

It hit home because Jake's mom Jacqueline has been suffering from Pick's Disease, a rare form of dementia, for the last decade. He posted this series of photos on Reddit hoping the glimpse of his mother's battle would raise awareness of the disease, especially when it's early onset.

"You certainly don't want your mom to die at such a young age but we all believe this would have been better rather than a decade of this," he said, adding that the length of his mother's suffering has been the most painful thing. Despite the hardship, Jake, 31, says sharing the story has been therapeutic and he also hopes it will help put a human face on a disease many people don't know much about.

The post has received over 2,300 comments with many people sharing their own stories and offering words of comfort. "I think at this stage I find the most comfort I get is by talking about it. Yes, it's a shit situation," he says. "A lot of the time I wouldn't want to talk about it in the past many years. But now talking about it is much more relieving. It's a conversation that needs to happen."

Check out the photos below to learn what early onset dementia really looks like.

  • 1
    Jake Heath
    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.
  • 2
    Jake Heath
    On the beach, around 2010. Lots of Jacquie around. She can't remember too much though.
  • 3
    Jake Heath
    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.
  • 4
    Jake Heath
    Beach-time walks. Weight is falling off. Conversation is non-existent.
  • 5
    Jake Heath
    The birth of her first grandchild. She had been looking forward to being a grandmother for years.
  • 6
    Jake Heath
    Still knows how to party. #yolo.
  • 7
    Jake Heath
    Cuddles with her 14-month-old grandson. He's very careful with her, knows she's special.
  • 8
    Jake Heath
    She doesn't walk very much anymore. And she has lost a large amount of weight.
  • 9
    Jake Heath
    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.
  • 10
    Jake Heath
    Sometime's we'll move to her to beanbags on the floor.
  • 11
    Jake Heath
    She still smiles and laughs sometimes. I have no idea why. I really hope she dies soon.

Thanks to the Heath family for sharing their touching story with us all.


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