Minds and Voices with a Japanese twist……

So Monday’s blog spoke of me welcoming Tomo from Japan, into my home, well yesterday Tomo and the Japanese film crew visited Minds and Voices, the support group I attend in York. Tomo was travelling back to Japan on Tuesday so this would probably be his last event before travelling home……

It was an early start as I have to leave my house by taxi at 07,15 in order to get to the bus station in time as the village buses are non existent until later in the morning…….

There was a gorgeous sunrise lighting up my rooms as I got up……
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Damian had kindly agreed to pick me up from York and take me to the hall so I made myself comfy in the station until it was time.

This was our first meeting since our summer break so it had seemed ages since I’d seen everyone.

We arrived in time to find Emily had boiled the hot water so a cuppa was the first thing to be had…….Taxis soon started to arrive and people made themselves comfy before Tomo and all his friends arrived…..this time were 10 extras including the lovely Philly Hare!

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After everyone had settled down with a cuppa, we got started.

Elaine welcomed Tomo to York in Japanese which brought lots of applause……

We went round and introduced ourselves to our guests…..

Tomo was diagnosed at the age of 39…I think yesterday I said he was diagnosed in his 40’s so I stand corrected. I thought my 50’s was bad enough, but to be diagnosed at 39 ……I just can’t imagine…..

Emily told our visitors about our group – we’re quite unusual as we’re an independent group not created out of health services. But that gives us the ability to be vocal in whatever area we feel necessary.

We’re 2 years old this week………!!

Eddy told Tomo to live life for today and don’t worry about tomorrow.

We had an update from Emily and Damian including a project with the North Yorkshire Police. And then ensued a conversation about our experience when we were diagnosed and how unsupportive our employers were.

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Tomo told us about his experience of keeping his job post diagnosis at Toyota. He was supported to stay in work and now has a different job which still uses his creativity.Through his interpreter he said:

”It may take me more time to do my job but with support I can still work.”

At first people didn’t know how or what to say to him, but he made a point of talking to any colleagues who would listen and gradually they began to accept and ask questions about dementia.

We all agree that this attitude should be the norm…..

Tomo told us about his experience of dementia in Japan. How it’s unusual at present for people to speak out

We spoke of the strategies we have to cope with daily living and make it easier….

We talked, discussed and laughed all morning before it was time for Tomo to leave. I didn’t type much as it was difficult concentrating and it wasn’t a particularly good day a head point of view after yesterday’s wonderful, yet tiring visit. The one main message that came out of the morning was:

“Live as well as you possibly can with dementia” – after all, you don’t get a second chance……

We couldn’t let him go without a group photo – we all trooped out to the garden and soooo many photos were taken – The Director of the film crew took this brilliant one of everyone……a magic meeting………

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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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