Saturday, April 18, 2015

Why I Walk

We walk in memory of a father and a father-in-law.
The Walk For Alzheimer's, supporting the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, is Sunday, May 3.
I walk because my father had Alzheimer's disease. I walk in his memory and I walk to make a difference in the lives of others living with dementia and their caregivers. I walk because Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are a fact and denial is not an option.
I created TEAM PACHYDERMENTIA -- because elephants never forget -- because it is a group effort to support those living with dementia and those caring for someone living with dementia. I created the team because this isn't about me, it's about all of us with personal experience of dementia. We all know someone who is affected by dementia in some way.
Family, friends and neighbours have a role to play in helping those living with dementia, whether it's donating money to the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, phoning a friend to see how he or she is doing, taking a pot of soup to a couple struggling to remain together at home, offering to clean the house during that transitional week between home and long-term-care facility or joining us on the walk.
With our ageing population, cuts to health care and not yet enough training and education around person-centred dementia care, we need to think in terms of being in this together, of supporting each other on this long journey like no other. I don't use words like "fight" or "battle" or even "struggle" or "suffer" any more because yes, my mother and I struggled as caregivers and yes, my father suffered but that was because of everything we didn't know then. I've changed my language because I want to change attitudes towards dementia, towards the men and women diagnosed with the disease and towards their caregivers. It's better to be "dementia friendly" than "dementia ignorant".
I walk because living with dementia and being a caregiver for someone with dementia can be very, very isolating. The more we know, the better we do, and the better we support each other so that no one walks down that long road alone.
If you would like to join our herd or if you would like to donate to Team Pachydermentia, please visit the website and click on either "Register" or "Sponsor A Walker".
You also may contact me by email (use the button to the right). Your donation of time and/or money is greatly appreciated by a whole lot of people. Perhaps even your family, friends and neighbours.
The herd thanks you!

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