With Christmas and New Year approaching, I thought you might benefit from meeting an Englishman from Shropshire, George Rook who was 63 when he was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer’s young onset dementia. People with young onset dementia tend to be diagnosed much earlier in the disease and therefore have many more years of being able to express themselves well compared to older people who slip into dementia, often without diagnosis until much later in the disease.
George first started writing about his dementia online in August 2014 when he was 63.
When someone with young onset dementia like George, shares their experiences and feelings they are giving us some insight into the experiences and feelings of all the people living with a dementia, regardless of their age.
George wrote the blog below last week to express how he was feeling as he approaches this busy, noisy, celebratory time of year and after he and his wife recently had guests stay for 3 nights. George gave permission for Daughterly Care to re-publish his blog below.
As you rush towards Christmas trying to make everything perfect and perhaps feeling stressed because it isn’t perfect, just breathe deeply and remember, the most precious gift you can give is your happy, relaxed self.
Just ‘happily and calmly enjoying your family’ is perfect and enough
- Holding your Mother’s hand while watching the Carols by Candlelight Christmas Eve and singing along with her is a wonderful gift of unconditional love. Even better if the grandchildren can be there too and sing along. When you are singing Christmas Carols with your family you don’t have a dementia – you are just enjoying Christmas with your family.
- Watching the cricket and having a beer with your Dad is a wonderful gift of unconditional love. When you are talking about cricket with your family, you don’t have a dementia – you are just enjoying a favourite past time.
- Going for a walk along the beach as an extended family is a gift to your parents as they enjoy nature and watching their grandchildren run and skip to meet the incoming waves and then run away.
Forgive all imperfection and just be, moment after moment. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Reprinted with George Rook’s permission, here is his most recent blog:
You can read George’s blog; George Rook living with dementia as well as I can.