Review of my Alzheimer’s of 2014

Looking back on last year I think I have become more settled with myself. I am very proactive in looking for solutions for difficulties I have and not worrying too much if I don’t find a solution. Here are some things I think might help for people with dementia.

• I use a calendar to record everything, (as much as I remember) even writing on the notes section when on the phone and recording information I know I will forget after the phone call.
• A blackboard in the kitchen is vital when I run out of something as I write it down immediately, and photograph the board when I go shopping.

There are lots of ways to help yourself when you have dementia, and also to help others who are living with the disease. I found a great idea recently when I was reading a crime thriller. Yes, really! The main character had brain trauma which affected her short term memory, so she started to develop strategies to help build a memory database by using her mobile phone to photograph everyday things and writing a description. For instance:

new doctor: photo+name.
New appointment: take a picture of the building and label it so you can see where you have been.

How many times have we been to an appointment or an event somewhere and not been able to remember the building, or even match the building with a person who I am seeing. I get confused with who is where, and who is what service! Yes it’s an easy mistake to make but when you keep making them it gets kind of stressy. Taking a photo of the building and the person could make things easier – obviously you’d have to ask their permission to do a mug shot.

What other challenges have I met last year? Well, it has been a tough time for both my husband and I coming to terms with my diagnosis. However, he has been trying very hard to understand when I repeat something, or to explain when I can’t understand a simple sentence without getting irritated. It takes the patience of a saint when someone with dementia is constantly asking what you mean because they can’t process what you have said.

I am trying to do as much as I can to keep myself mentally healthy. Okay I know the day will come when I am unable to keep my own control on everything but hopefully I can have a good number of years before that happens.

Getting things sorted is getting harder. As you might know from my book review blog I receive books from publishers, read them and write reviews, easy right? Say what I like about a book – no sweat.  Wrong: even though I know why I liked a book putting it down in words gets harder and harder. Firstly I have to motivate myself to start writing, next comes my thoughts, but that’s where I have to really push myself. I love writing, I love words, and I love books, so why does my brain become tongue-tied when I attempt to write it for the publisher?   This really is hard work for me but I will not give in, my encouragement is the odd email from a Publisher or an Author thanking me for my honest detailed review.

Travel – I no longer have my driving licence, and I miss it like anything. Could have I carried on driving? Possibly, but really my attention is not always great now so I would rather be safe on the road than sorry that I caused an accident. I am now becoming a train and bus traveller – alone I might add! You bet I am terrified before I travel, and stressed whilst I am travelling, but so proud that can still do it.
I have downloaded a LIST app to my phone and put in every detail of my travel details, departures, arrivals, times, places, other information etc etc.
So far it has worked. Travelling to London and then across via the underground can stress out even the most season traveller, but I have learnt to be single minded follow my instructions. If, like my last journey, all the trains ceased to run out of any of the stations I was travelling from, I managed to negotiate with any official looking person in a Network Rail/British Rail uniform on which train I should be. Oh yes – bring it on (actually it was really stressful but I did it). A simple journey is no longer simple – see my last post.

Next
Socialising – I find myself wanting to be in large groups of people less and less. I might of want to be with groups of friends before, but now it somehow fills me with apprehension. What has changed? Too many people means I can’t always process what people are saying, combined with the fact that I don’t always get jokes. When everyone is laughing because someone has said something funny and I have no idea why, it can leave me feeling outside of the ‘group’.
Hearing – I am finding it hard to process what people are saying, even though what they are saying might not be complicated. Also, if more than one person is speaking I have absolutely nil chance of hearing one voice! One person speak at a time please. I am no longer willing to meet people in pubs anymore because there is too much noise for me to hear only one voice. It is like being deaf in a sea of noise.
Vision – Definitely need several different glasses but doesn’t everybody as they age. Some days when I read the lines on the pages are wavy, or they get smaller on one side which is to do with my Alzheimer’s. Or sometimes I cannot understand the sentences on the page and have to stop reading.  My perspective is worse I believe. I can look up a road and not be able to work out the perspective of the street, houses and pavements are. Another reason I don’t drive now.
Memory – Apparently goldfishes have more than a 7 second memory, unlike myself at times! I think my memory remains in the same state thankfully, somethings I am ok with, some things I have no memory of. I recently received a copy of a letter from my consultant Neurologist, with information that I agreed to phone her after six weeks of our appointment to discuss my medication. I have no memory of that conversation so obviously I haven’t yet phoned!
Communication: I met an online community of people living with Dementia who have inspired me to try and get involved in bringing awareness to the realities of living with this disease. That is my most significant undertaking ever. So roll on 2015 when it starts.

The thing I have learnt the most is that I STILL CAN attempt to do anything I feel able to do, but I don’t beat myself up when I fail.

Author: Gill

I read books and review them. Books are my escape. I have always loved books. I write a blog, I get involved where and when I can in things I feel that are important. I also have Alzheimer's Disease but it does not define who I am. I am in the early stages so you may not notice. So, I will tell you how it is.

10 thoughts on “Review of my Alzheimer’s of 2014”

  1. I really think one of the most important things you’ve mentioned are your final words “I don’t beat myself up when I fail.”

    Guilt (at having a serious chronic health condition) and Anxiety (about that guilt and not reaching the daily expectations of friends and family) just has to be one of most important things to deal with.

    Acceptance is one of the hardest things to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t thought of that Vicki, thank you for adding it. You are right, I hadn’t realised that actually trying to reach the expectations of friends and family does make me feel guilty when I fail. Somehow it seems like it is my fault they don’t truly understand.

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      1. I agree with you both. My Mom passed away 6 years ago with Alzheimer’s and now I have early dementia due to oxygen deprivation since I have COPD. I think it’s easier to cope with my disease as I was caregiver for Mom.

        But, like this conversation it’s so easy to beat myself up for NOT remembering. When I should have done something but forgot.

        Me too, I don’t have a blackboard but a desk that is covered with Sticky Notes. It does help.

        All the best to you! I’ve enjoyed reading this so much.

        Sandy.

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  2. This is such great advice for people living with people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. In her mid eighties, we knew my mother’s memory was failing, but I now see all these other things you mention, and they explain a lot of things we didn’t understand at the time, like why she had difficulty reading some days and not others and why she got upset when we all talked around her rather than directly to her.

    It’s so wonderful that you’re willing to share your experiences – I hope 2015 is a good one for you, and each year hopefully brings the chances of effective treatments a little closer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I am glad it you have found some interest in my thoughts. I am looking forward to this year and being more ‘actively’ involved, partly because I am scared to ‘give up or give in’ to the disease.

      I your your 2015 is good for you too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ann for your kind words. Your site is awesome with so much information on, I look forward to delving though it. And, thank you for adding me to your recommended blogs, I feel honoured. 🙂

      I am pleased you feel my words can help others, I feel rather selfish sometimes in pouring out these things to help me come to terms with them.
      Gill xoxox

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  3. All I can say, is thank you. You put into words what I’ve been trying to explain to others for so long. Thank you!! Many blessings and strength to you through your journey. I hope I can do the same in my blog in some small way to help others as we go through the stages of this horrible disease. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Melanie. We can but try. I am now following your blog – your words are powerful too. If we each make a small difference together the difference will grow hopefully.

      I hope your faith will hold you up in your journey this year. Support from all directions is welcome. x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bless you “Before I forget” wonderful lady. Your words and thoughts are clearly understood by us caregiver’s who dutifully and patiently care for every stage. I am sorry you and your mind have become plagued with this , but your positives and looking forward to more adventures in your Ife are commendable. Thank you, and I must read all of your past blogs.
        I pray everyday for a real cure for us all.

        Liked by 1 person

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