Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Retiring and taking it easy

After giving it a great deal of thought, I have decided to retire as a volunteer with the Alzheimer's Society.

I first became a volunteer in 2005, after my diagnosis, and from here I never really looked back.

I spent a lot of time fund raising etc, and then got involved in campaigning, although until that point, the thought of standing up and speaking in a committee at work was a thought which terrified me, let alone stand up and speak in public.

I honestly do not understand what happened, but I ended up travelling the UK with the society, giving talks about living well with dementia.

My son thinks that my wife and I travelled around 25-000 miles in the process, but although I found it to be tiring, it was worth it in the end to hear that I had inspired others to stand up and change their lives

During this time I was also honoured to be able to do quite a lot of media projects, on radio, television and in the news press.

Through this I was honoured to receive a Civic Award from our District council for my work on dementia, and then we were awarded two Brooke's awards by the Society, one for volunteering and the other for my work, short though it was, as a moderator on Talking Point.

Yes it kept me going and I enjoyed it, apart from the long journeys, but it kept my brain active and for that I am eternally grateful. 

I volunteered again with the Society two years ago hoping that I could still help others, but due to recurring chest problems, along with osteoarthritis in my hip and knee, it became too difficult to carry on.

So after much thought I decided that the time had come to, admit defeat and retire.

So today I have done just that, before I am tempted to think again

I still have some speaking engagements to do, and I will honour those, because it helps other people understand this illness, but after that I intend to take things easy. 

I will still get involved in certain projects, but will gradually wind down.

I know that in my good days I can still remain active on social media, and may need to pick what I get involved with in future, but there are now many younger people coming through, and it's nice to hear their stories for a change. 

They also possibly have totally different thoughts on how things should be run to me, so I will watch with interest.

It means quite a lot to me when I hear that I had inspired others newly diagnosed, to stand up and follow, in fact I feel quite humbled, but life moves on and I have to accept the fact that I am no longer as fit or active as I was.

I have found many new friends in this time, and hope that I will be able to keep in touch with them.

Thank you to all I have met on my travels. 

Ken



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