Caring for my mother

Carmel Geoghegan with her mother, Angela Doris Geoghegan, in 2011.

This year, International Women’s Day focuses on equality; both at the individual and collective level. Our individual actions, behaviours and mindsets have the ability to impact society at a large scale. If we each focus on making society equal for all, we can create a gender equal world.

In part two of this series for International Women’s Day, Carmel Geoghegan writes about her experience of caring for her mother, touching on the rewards, stigma and life changing experiences it brought her.

Continue reading “Caring for my mother”

Dr Jennifer Bute: A Journey of Hope

On World Alzheimer’s Day 2018, ADI released the World Alzheimer Report 2018: The state of the art of dementia research: New frontiers, addressing key questions in dementia research, relating to: basic science, diagnosis, drug discovery, risk reduction, epidemiology and care. Dr Jennifer Bute, a former General Practitioner (GP) who was diagnosed with dementia, is one of the contributors to this year’s report. Here is her story in her own words. Continue reading “Dr Jennifer Bute: A Journey of Hope”

Howard Gordon shares his experiences of early onset dementia and offers advice during World Alzheimer’s Month

Howard Gordon, member of Dementia Alliance International, Action Group

I started to notice changes around the beginning of 2014. I was working at the local Hospital and I began to forget regular tasks. I would go to the clinic room or kitchen and forget what I went there for. Knowing the time, day and date became an issue and I was getting lost around the Hospital. I began to get lost in other familiar places and would cross roads without looking or noticing until I had got to the other side.

Although I had received Dementia training and experience caring for people living with Dementia for 15 years, I put it down to turning 50 and it wasn’t until I saw a television programme about Chris Roberts, who himself was diagnosed with dementia at 50, that alarm bells rang and I went to my GP (general doctor). Continue reading “Howard Gordon shares his experiences of early onset dementia and offers advice during World Alzheimer’s Month”

“Progress can only happen when there is close collaboration”: ADI at the 71st World Health Assembly

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On 23 May 2018, Alzheimer’s Disease International brought together government delegates, civil society, students and importantly, people living with dementia and carers, in the Palais des Nations in Geneva, for our official side-event to the 71st World Health Assembly (WHA71).

Mobilising Society: Inspiration for national responses to dementia was a particularly significant event for dementia advocacy and the advancement of dementia on the global agenda, as it was the only event at the WHA this year dedicated to highlighting dementia as a global health challenge. It also marked two important occasions: first year anniversary of WHO’s Global action plan on the public health to dementia 2017-2025, and of ADI’s new report: From plan to impact: Progress towards targets of the Global plan on dementia 2017-2025. Continue reading ““Progress can only happen when there is close collaboration”: ADI at the 71st World Health Assembly”

A good decade

Rebekah Churchyard, 27, speaks about her relationship with her Grandfather living with dementia, and her passion for new research as a member of the World Young Leaders in Dementia (WYLD).

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Rebekah with her grandfather in Ontario, Canada.

When you’re fourteen years old, there’s a lot going on. Dealing with fluctuating hormones, emerging personalities and high school doesn’t leave time for much else. I was fourteen in 2003 when my Grandma first told us that my Grandpa was diagnosed with ‘semantic dementia’. She carefully explained that this is a special type of cognitive disorder where he would gradually lose the ability to do things like plan, make decisions and talk.

My Grandpa was a well-known teacher in Fergus, Ontario, Canada. His career path was one of the two stories he would always tell; “Did you know I was a teacher? It’s funny because I never wanted to be a teacher…”, he would say.

To generate extra income for their retirement, my grandparents operated a Christmas Tree Farm. They become well known and loved community figures. Grandpa would spend his days on his tractor in the fields, pruning and baling trees. They had planned to travel in their retirement as a reward for decades of hard work. We knew things would change the day he put water where oil is supposed to go in his chainsaw. It was scary for my Grandma.

My Grandma did a wonderful job accessing support and resources available to her, especially from the Waterloo-Wellington Alzheimer’s Society. My Grandpa did not enjoy attending Day Programs and Grandma hired personal support workers or asked family and friends to come stay with him. He would regularly greet guests and say with a sigh, “You know my brain’s no good anymore”. At first, I responded with a dismissive yet reassuring “I still love you”. Continue reading “A good decade”

Support in Oman

My own personal experience of dementia began when my mother seemed to forget where she had put her things. Initially, we as a family assumed that this was simply a normal part of ageing, but gradually she started forgetting where she was and could not recognize the people around her, often repeating questions that we had already answered.

It was at this stage we realized that this was not a normal part of ageing, so we took her to various doctors for consultations, and she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia changed her personality completely, and we didn’t know what to do or how best to support her. It was and still is hard witnessing her decline. I would spend the whole day watching her walk from one room to another, not knowing what she wanted.

She didn’t want people to do things for her because throughout her life, she was someone who was highly organized both in her personal and professional life. She trained as a teacher, becoming a Headmistress and finally an Inspector. Her personal life was one of refinement in her duties to her family and society. She was softly spoken, articulate, forgiving, and always finding good in others, seldom criticizing people; instead often invoking Allah to guide that individual. Continue reading “Support in Oman”