A dementia friendly life continued.......

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of being part of a community that understands what you're going through and this set me thinking even more.  I have recently joined a facebook support group and I very soon realised that almost all of the photos added by members are of elderly relatives in varying states of incapacity.  Something else I realised is that this is most people's perception of dementia but it most definitely does not apply to my husband.  Ash is 59, physically very fit, mentally (mostly) with it but he still has dementia.  He repeats himself, he forgets things, his sense of taste is fading, he can't concentrate, he is easily confused and he can't learn anything new.  He can however hold a conversation, join in social events (as long as he knows the people he's with) and would not, under any circumstances, attend a group consisting of mainly elderly people.  He doesn't have anything against them you understand, in fact several of our closest friends are in their 70s and 80s, but he would see no reason to join a group where the only thing he has in common with everyone else is that they each have a form of dementia.  I know Ash isn't the only one in this situation but by the very nature of it all it wouldn't be any use trying to set up a dementia group for younger people as the problem would still be there.  He (and they) wouldn't want to belong to a group that exists purely because of dementia.  This then is where our local communities come in.  As long as the people around us have some idea of our difficulties we can still have a social life and the more we mix the more we will break down barriers and expand people's knowledge.  Someone has just moved into our village and it turns out we went to school together.  This means we haven't see each other for 41 years and she only remembers Ash as a teenager.  She has however invited us round for supper one evening.  She's heard about the dementia that affects our lives but has invited us anyway and I have explained that he will repeat himself several times but that's ok.  She knows and will be expecting it but we'll be having an evening out with someone new.  This is I feel most definitely the way to go especially for those in the younger age group.  Not in special groups doing organised activities but as part of a living, breathing, functioning community where we will have friends around us when we need them. 


If you have any ideas about getting the word out in your community or want to discuss ways to do it then email me at memoryfortwo@gmail.com.