“IT was a shock and I was angry” – the words of Scholes man Tony Garrood who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Being able to read a billboard or find a kitchen utensil is something many people take for granted.

But for former lecturer Tony Garrood, Alzheimer’s meant a change of lifestyle.

The 62-year-old had been senior lecturer in environmental sciences at Huddersfield University for 30 years and was responsible for thousands of students over the years.

But he is one of around 1, 000 people in Kirklees with some form of dementia.

It was a blow that changed the course of his life, and his family’s, for good.

Mr Garrood is now speaking out in the hope that the subject of dementia is one which can be widely discussed.

He said of the Alzheimer’s diagnosis: “It was a shock, I was angry and it can be quite perturbing and of course very upsetting.

“It was a heavy blow and from that you think ‘I’m just not going to be able to do things’.

“I wondered if the DVLA would take my driving licence away.

“It came as a big shock to my family as well, but we found that we just had to get on with it.

“You adapt to the situation and find that life carries on.

“It is a big change but I still do most things I did before.”

Dementia describes different brain disorders that trigger a loss of brain function which is progressive.

There are more than 100 different types of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type, affecting 62 per cent of those diagnosed – around 417,000 people.

Symptoms can include loss of memory, confusion and problems with speech and understanding.

He said: “I’m speaking out about my experience because, while I accept what I’m going through, I firmly believe that it will be much better if people are open and understand what it is.

“It does not immediately stop everything, life carries on but it changes.

“Alzheimer’s is just something else that I have to cope with much sooner than one would expect.”

Mr Garrood’s medic daughter was the first to notice his early stages of Alzheimer’s. He has four children.

He had retired from lecturing aged 55 and spent a year working with Yorkshire Water.

In the following year he applied for other jobs and re-trained as a massage therapist but over time some of the characteristics of Alzheimer’s became more noticeable and he was diagnosed with frontal and rear Alzheimer’s.

“I am finding that words are more and more difficult to get right,” he added.

“As an academic I would have to be very precise in what I say but I’ve had to re-train myself to make do with a word that is just OK.

“For my family it has been very difficult because there are six of us who think differently at different times – it certainly hit us all.

“But I think for the carer or partner [Jacqueline] it can be even more difficult because there is nothing they can do.

“As a family we made the decision to be open about it, that’s what I wanted.

“That’s why I’m speaking out because the more one is open the more I hope others will be.”

Mr Garrood attends the Memory Clinic at St Luke’s and takes part in events organised by the Huddersfield branch of the Alzheimer’s Society, based at St George’s Square.


Experts predict it will rise to over 1 million people by 2025.

One person in every 14, aged over 65, in the UK has dementia.

One in three older people will end their lives with a form of dementia

More than 15,000 people under 65 have dementia in the UK.

There is no cure for dementia.