How tp thrive with dementia

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Many people treat dementia as a communicable disease.

Half a million Australians suffer from dementia. People like me.

Everyone with dementia handles it in different ways.

There is a stigma going with this condition and people often find it difficult to deal with.

Let me recommend sufferers to a marvellous author of several books on dementia, exploring what it is and ways to handle it.

Christine Bryden is a must-read.

Start with, Will I Still be Me: An insider's view.

She was diagnosed in 1995. It tends to be the case that the earlier you are diagnosed the better the chance of using prophylactic methods to delay and manage dementia.

If you want inspiration, Christine is the go.

If people think dementia leads to a quick and miserable death, be fascinated by Christine having survived for 25 years.

Ask yourself how such a person has survived for so long and written five books on the subject.

She has an indomitable spirit, focusing on a continuing sense of self, and despite suffering dementia brings a powerful message of hope.

Being stood in the corner and hearing people talking about you as if you weren't there must engender a positive response.

Your cognitive ability will decline and also your memory.

Value your loved ones and try to adopt strategies to enable you to show all the evidence of not being ga-ga.

Try to exercise your brain as well as your body.

Physical activity does great things for your brain.

Chess may degenerate into draughts. Ride a bike, take the dog for a walk.

Whatever you do, force yourself out of bed or the chair.

Reestablish your talents, the things you enjoy. If you are lucky enough to have a partner and/or friend word them up about simple help that they can give you. I often have complex ideas which I try to relate but lose it in mid sentence. 

Try to socialize. Make fun of yourself. Watch the ABC which keeps you abreast of events. Write a letter to the editor. Compose a scrap book or stick heaps of pictures on the wall.

Your life's journey .  Oh I almost forgot: Never give up.

David Harris