Use it or Lose it

From a blog in 2005 which was updated last year but never used

As more and more people are being diagnosed with dementia these days,  I thought it would help to bring back another old blog.

When my diagnosis was completed in 2005,  I met many people who are now old friends, many of which are still fighting on.

These people were I guess very lucky like me, but I guess one thing separates them from others, is the fact that like me they chose to look at life in a different way after the diagnosis,  and get as much as possible out of life from then on.

We are all different, with individual symptoms and problems, and no two people are the same,  something that many people don't understand, but then there are many types of dementia

We only need to look at Christine Bryden in New Zealand,  who was diagnosed over 20 years ago, and is still doing presentations at conferences all round the world.

This lovely lady has seen scans to prove that her brain has shrunk, and although she was not given a lot of hope early on, she chose to fight on regardless, and has written books about her experience.

The diagnosis usually comes as a great shock to many, simply because it's something that no one wants, yet many find new ways to keep themselves occupied.

I met one gentleman back in 2005, who had vascular dementia, yet he is still going strong.

I understand that it all depends on when you were diagnosed as far as the illness is concerned, but if you are young enough, the world is your oyster

As one consultant in Newcastle once said, You either "Use Your Brain or Lose it".

In other words fight on and don't look back, or give in.

If we want to fight dementia and memory problems, we must remain active, as my old consultant once told me

This means staying as active as possible, by using what ever method you can.

Some use crossword puzzles, some use other board games, while others use other activities such as photography, walking or meeting at day groups.

I don't attend day groups as I have always been active,  and tried to keep myself amused in photography or walking when ever I can, although I have problems walking at times at times

However I really enjoy walking round the riverside watching the ducks and swans etc, and get a lot of pleasure sitting watching them when it's quiet. 

I also enjoy my time at our static caravan in Barnard Castle, where everyone knows me, and I can enjoy myself

There used to be a discussion group in our area run by the Alzheimer's society, but this is no longer running, but it was a wonderful way to keep in touch with others. 

This group used to be lively, because we all had one or other form of dementia, and we understood everyone else's problems and accepted them.

I accept that others may not wish to meet up and talk to others, but I do feel, that once you understand that you are not on your own, life takes on a different meaning.

Many feel isolated and unable to discuss their problems with others, because of the stigma which is attached to this illness

But I always said that I would be happy to talk to others in our area in the hope of helping them to cope and move on.

This is why I spend time giving presentations to graduate nurses at Northumbria University, in the hope that I can inspire others to grasp the nettle and do something positive for others
But I do suggest people join groups in they are available in your area, if not join a dementia charity and see what support they have in your area

I think it's good to mix with others on the same journey if the resources are there, but there seems to be nothing here apart from singing for the brain, and as I no longer enjoy singing this one is out. 

Many people like painting and other forms of art.

So go on express yourself.

There are no art groups in our area, but I am hoping to start to learn to paint very soon

So if anyone gets a diagnosis of dementia, do not sit and let it get to you.

Enjoy your hobbies, enjoy mixing with others, and what is more remember that you are not alone in having this illness, you are among friends.

Many people give up fighting after being given a diagnosis of dementia,  while others prefer to fight on regardless

We are all so very different and react in different

Never give up, and try to talk to others who understand  


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