When I was diagnosed with Early On-Set Alzheimer’s and FTD (Fronto-Temporal Degeneration/Dementia) the doctor’s only advise was “Go home, put your affairs in order, see an Elder Care Attorney and come back in six months.” We left his office with the understanding that I would forget my loved ones and die at any time.
This same doom and gloom diagnosis is given to most people diagnosed with dementia. Although the average life expectancy is eight to ten years, there is no encouragement of living a meaningful life. No strategies are offered to identify what triggers dementia episodes and what might help. And no information is provided on support groups or how to connect with others living this journey.
At first, I accepted the doctor’s verdict. Wallowing in self-pity and low esteem, I gave up and set about to prepare for the inevitable. Then I found that there are many people living a meaningful life after diagnosis! Through Dementia Mentors, Virtual Memory Cafes, and Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio, I learned to identify and avoid some of the triggers that aggravate my dementia. Together, my husband Roy and I discovered ways to compensate for many of the hurdles that cause confusion and found that there are many tactics to help people with dementia to live a productive life.
Socializing with other people living with dementia in support groups was wonderful, but I wanted more. I no longer wanted just to survive – I wanted to Thrive! Although I knew I could no longer handle the responsibilities and stress of a job (or the driving), I longed to feel like my life had a purpose. Then I connected with the Dementia Action Alliance and my doors were opened. Finally, a group that focused on quality of life!
The Dementia Action Alliance USA (DAA) is a non-profit national advocacy and education organization of people living with dementia, care partners, friends and dementia specialists committed to creating a better country in which to live with dementia. I have been honored to work with the DAA on many projects/committees and had the privilege of speaking at Re-imagine Life with Dementia Conference in June.
The DAA is making a difference now, not waiting until a cure is found. Funds are needed to continue and expand the fabulous programs and support they offer to make meaningful life possible while living with dementia.
Please consider helping the DAA to improve quality of life for people living with dementia. Your donation can be in honor of someone living with dementia or in memory of a loved one. To learn more about DAA or make a donation please visit DAAnow.org or click this link: https://daanow.org/donate-now/
Thank you for caring and for all your support.
Love & Laughter,