I was about to apologise for not writing sooner, but then stopped myself. It’s time to stop apologising – let’s see how that goes?????
The last few weeks have been exciting and challenging. A few days in New Zealand, at the Alzheimer’s New Zealand Conference totally inspired me. Such wonderful speakers, most showing a real depth of understanding of what is needed to make living with dementia easier for all of us – from those of us living with dementia, to family and paid carers; representatives of varied service organisations, policy makers to politicians.
It was a proud moment for me to be able to co-present with Associate Professor Lee-Fay Low from Sydney University, who unlike so many medicos is “prescribing engagement”. I am part of her team in a research program looking at the benefits of early psychological support following diagnosis – a great program with benefits for all. The benefits for the three of us acting as peer supporters is as tangible as the benefits to those whom we are supporting….even the original Research Team (minus those of us with dementia) themselves talk about how much they are gaining from the program, personally – loving the program and the Team.
I attended my first dementia cafe, on Friday, as a guest speaker. I had been able to have some input into it’s establishment and congratulations to the Upper North Shore Dementia Friends’ Committee who got the whole project up and running in just 6 weeks. It was an interesting experience for me and there are certainly a few small bumps to iron out, but great to see so many volunteers, many from Rotary, who want to make a difference.
Monday I attended a social support group for people living with a younger onset dementia diagnosis – I don’t actually meet the criteria as I was too old when diagnosed (you have to be under 65 on diagnosis), but they told me the young at heart were welcome. They were a great bunch of people and I will certainly go along from time to time – even if it is just to beat Steve at pool. It was great to be able to find another volunteer to sit of the Dementia Advisory Group that I am trying to establish to advise our newly formed Central Coast Dementia Alliance. There are now 5 of us with the lived experience – three with dementia and 2 carers, I think we are about ready to start meeting and getting our act together. I think we might provide some challenges for the Alliance, but what the heck, isn’t that our role in life, nowadays.