Posted 1 November, 2006
I am 57 and have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. My life can be challenging because everyday chores take a lot longer than they used to, I don’t know what day it is when I get up in the morning and if people speak too quickly I simply can’t understand them.
However, despite all of these challenges I am determined to live my life to the full doing as much as I can when I can. I achieve this with support from Alzheimer Scotland who are my ‘backbone’.
I attend Alzheimer Scotland’s Elm Centre where staff members have helped me rebuild my life. When you’re diagnosed with dementia you feel as though you’re lost in a different world. Getting involved in the centre made me regain my confidence and see that I was still a full person. I now know that it’s a matter of trying to adjust and work round your dementia, to find the things that you can still manage to do, but accept that you may need support to do other things.
I am currently involved in a West Dunbartonshire interest group where my input ensures that services for people with dementia are appropriate to their needs. I sit along side social workers, mental health workers, occupational therapists, respite care workers and sheltered housing professionals to make sure that they hear the views of people with dementia.
The only way that services will be able to change is if people start listening to us. We know what our needs are and should be the ones telling them. We are the experts in our field.