I’m Still Kicking, Just Not As High
I was diagnosed with vascular dementia over two years ago. In essence, I’m the same person I always was. I like to say, ‘I’m still kicking, just not as high.’
Dementia doesn’t define the way I live and approach life. I continue to do things for myself and am still active in the community. My wife Sheila and I go to yoga and various other activities throughout the week. We live our lives the way we always have, adapting to changes as they come our way.
It’s important for me to continue doing my hobbies, like making stained glass. I’ve been going to classes with Sheila for 17 years now and it’s become part of who I am as a person. There’s a core group of us who’ve been together for most of that time, and it’s like another a support system for me. I’m proud when I create something I like, and it makes me feel good doing something I enjoy.
I am a retired firefighter, and that’s also part of who I am. I worked in the fire prevention and safety department for eight years, and to this day I examine exits for safety and look at fire extinguishers to see when they were last inspected. My wife can attest to that!
My memory has never been great, but it’s worse now. Sometimes it makes me upset when I can’t do some of the things I used to be able to do, but I’ve learned to find different approaches and that helps.
It’s not always easy, but we’re finding our way through.
Here are my tips to help you understand:
- If you are concerned about your memory, make an appointment with your doctor.
- Don’t stop doing things you enjoy. If your abilities change, just find a different approach -- like doing it slower or with some help.
- Try not to feel overwhelmed. Break things down into smaller steps and then make lists.
- Keep track of your activities by writing them down in a calendar.
- Don’t be shy about asking for help. And when someone offers, take them up on it!
- Get in touch with the Alzheimer Society and join a support group.