Andree

Living with dementia

Dementia Australia has given me the confidence, encouragement and support to seek therapies and strategies to conquer this illness, or at least delay the symptoms and slow the deterioration.

I was diagnosed with Grand Mal epilepsy in 2010 at 58 years-of-age. I have suffered gradual cognitive decline since then. Whilst not formally diagnosed with dementia, I experience similar symptoms. I ceased driving in 2011 and retired from my professional work in 2013.

I found Dementia Australia through online research and immediately found it to be a very good informational and educational resource. Dementia Australia has given me the confidence, encouragement and support to seek therapies and strategies to conquer this illness, or at least delay the symptoms and slow the deterioration.

Memory loss can be crippling. I am concerned about making the same mistake twice. We often say ‘we learn from our mistakes’, but what happens if we forget our mistakes? I am often at a loss when family and friends talk about times gone by. I try to recall what they are reminiscing about and often smile and laugh at their memories, but for me, it is being social, as I really can’t remember. Photos, journals and family movies do help. I am worried about losing my keys, my phone and my purse, but I do a spot-check before I leave home or any venue. I am aware of my cognitive decline but I am determined to live a full and meaningful life. I want to maintain my self-worth, independence, respect and dignity for as long as I can.

Surprisingly, I have learnt that dementia can have its blessings. Most people with dementia who I know are happy. They have forgotten their woes, worries and anxieties. They are friendly, warm and accepting. They haven’t lost their sense of humour and are tolerant, friendly and loving.

I turned to Dementia Australia’s National Dementia Helpline. You can too here.