An Evening at the WI

Katherine Blaker, Community Development Manager at Joseph Rowntree Foundation had recently been asked by the local Women’s Institute to give a talk on dementia- they’ve done lots of work on dementia http://www.jrf.org.uk/search/site/dementia
Joseph Rowntree Foundation always ask people with dementia to be involved in whatever they’re doing so Katherine asked me to go along with her to tell my story.

It was in a wonderful building – Jacobs Well – photo below.

Me and Katherine had met to discuss how much we could get through in the time allotted – it was supposed to be an hour. Katherine wanted to talk about the work of Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the work she had done in creating a dementia friendly organisation. My 3 themes were, my diagnosis, adapting strategies and the advantages of living with dementia – which always raises a few laughs! ending with my poem ‘Encounter with a Stranger’.

I’d got a photo from the web so knew what the building looked like for my journey there. I was met by the lovely Hester who made me a cuppa and made me feel very welcome while we waiting for Katherine and the rest of the group to arrive. By the way, I’m always early, as my daughters can testify – I’ll be early for my own funeral……..:)

Once Katherine arrived we set everything up on the table upstairs. Katherine had brought lots of dementia leaflets – some from the Alzheimer’s society and some from Joseph Rowntree – and I’d bought Join Dementia Research leaflets, my blog cards and a copy of the poem I was reading.

I think the group were very wary before we started but in the end we overran. They had so many questions at the end. We laughed a lot, which always helps. I had one of the nicest comments at the end as one of the group came up to me and said

“I was afraid of Alzheimers before I heard you talk”

What an amazing comment to make and one I wrote immediately I got into the taxi so I wouldn’t forget.  Need to keep reading that as it makes all the time talking and raising awareness worth while and all the rubbish days easier…..

Jacob's Well - One of the many fabulous old buildings in York
Jacob’s Well – One of the many fabulous old buildings in York
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About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

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