I have Alzheimer’s disease, but I don’t let that run my life. I try to maximize what I can still do, rather than focus on what I can’t do.
I choose to be physically active because early in life I learned that physical activity raises my spirits. I got back on my bike, and I even ride in the winter – it’s exhilarating! I can honestly say that giving up my driver’s license enriched my life because I became more aware of the seasons and the large scale openness of the landscape.
With other people, I use candor. If someone doesn’t know me, it helps to put my cards on the table and tell them I have Alzheimer’s disease – then they won’t feel snubbed if I forget their name. My attitude is, if there’s a problem, don’t pretend it’s not there. Let’s analyze it and find coping strategies and cures. The Alzheimer Society is doing a really good job of getting the word out so people understand.
I had a lifetime teaching career, and I have supportive friends who I taught with for years. I meet them and we go for coffee or bike rides. These outings keep me in touch with other people and get me out. I want to stay open and see all the possibilities; my goal is to live life to the fullest as best I can.
HERE ARE MY TIPS TO HELP YOU UNDERSTAND:
- Give yourself time to accept your diagnosis and continue to live. This is not the end of the world.
- Stay organized. Take notes and have well-established daily activities.
- Stay active. Ride a bike, go for a walk and have a coffee with your friends … or do what you like to do.
- Join a support group where you can share your experiences and laugh together.
- Enjoy life. Of course…I get old and I lose my hair…but life is beautiful!