Like you, dementia wasn't on my radar.
I'd never met anyone with a dementia until I met Anne, my mother-in-law. Anne was diagnosed with young-onset Alzheimer's disease at the age of 56. Too soon, you might think; I agree, it always is.
Like all families, Anne, her husband and four sons did the best they could to support her with too little information and too few resources. I watched them struggle with the changes in their relationships, the compassion fatigue, the care burden. But, most of all, how Anne saw it all too.
I was fortunate that she and I got on like a house on fire. I didn't have any history with Anne, which meant I couldn't compare her to who she might have been before. I could only see her as she was at the moment. I was luckier than most. I wasn't grieving a loss, so I could focus on strengths and abilities, and Anne had a lot of those.