For the past six weeks, I've been consumed by one project: My hour-long presentation at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia's annual conference.
Now the countdown is on...Monday and Tuesday, October 21 and 22 at the Holiday Inn Harbourview, Dartmouth. That's next week!
Me specifically: Monday afternoon at 3 pm. Wow! Won't believe I'm doing it until I'm there.
For the first time, I'm putting my mouth where my words are. This is my first speech about the caregiving experience I shared with my mother. After writing about it for ten years, and the last four being after my father's death, public speaking & presentations are the next logical step for me to take. I'm grateful to the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia for giving me this opportunity to change attitudes towards dementia.
I'm nervous but in a good way. More like excited nerves -- finally getting my message out there. Once I was no longer a caregiver, I was able to look back and reflect on the experience and see so many things that I couldn't at the time. Hence the title of my presentation: "I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now." So much to say, so many stories to share.
The presentation is broken down into three topics: Love, Music and Acceptance. Acceptance -- meaning "It's not about you, it's about the person you need to take care of" -- is the most challenging part to express. Especially in an hour. But I consider it the most important. Attitudes about dementia, about the people living with dementia, must change. Otherwise, we're heading for a big crisis in care. Personally, as a woman with no children and a husband who is 14 years older, I worry about what kind of care I'm going to receive if there is no one to watch out for me.
You can still register for the two-day event. But please note: The "Friends & Family Night" on the evening of Monday, October 21, is FREE! And I'm part of a panel doing a Q&A about living with dementia that evening.
It begins at 6 pm, and the panel runs from 7 until 9.
This is what I know now: Knowledge is power. Fear and ignorance about dementia only makes it harder to take care of someone you love the way they deserve to be taken care of. Come and be empowered -- you never know when you'll need what you learn.