Sep 16, 2011

Will You Support Dementia Awareness Day?

A few months ago I met a great guy named Norms, I can't recall exactly how we met, but I instantly felt a warm friendship an ocean away.  Yes, I live in Michigan and Norms lives in the UK.  I have never met Norms face to face but we have had some very deep discussions by email and he instantly became a friend for life.

By Angil Tarach-Ritchey RN, GCM
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Norms has Alzheimer's.

He was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's at 50 years of age.  I am 50 now.

 I sit and think about my friend a lot and wonder how I'd handle that diagnosis this 50th year of my life.  Would I handle it with grace, turn this diagnosis into a determination to advocate, and share my daily thoughts and emotions so others can understand, like Norms has?

Who's to say?

I can think about how I'd hope to handle it.  I can think about how I'd want to handle it, but I don't think any of us truly know how we'd handle a diagnosis of Alzheimer's until it were us.

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I like to hear from Norms and what he thinks and feels because it gives me a better understanding from his perspective so I can be a better care provider, a better advocate, and a better educator.  The  way to provide the best possible care is to be as empathetic as possible.

Norms, and others, like Richard Taylor, teach us very valuable lessons, and give us an opportunity to grow and become better people because they are willing to share, and teach, and fight.  I am a better person for knowing them, and I hope the lessons they have taught me will be evident in my work and what I do so others will benefit.

I received an email from a supporter of Norms, and I assume a friend, asking for support for Norms mission.  The email included a video I am posting here.  It gives you a glimpse into Norms kind soul and his wonderfully supportive wife Elaine's. They are on a mission to raise dementia awareness.

Norms, his family, friends and supporters are asking for us to support their mission of declaring September 17th Dementia Awareness Day. 

To give this video a thumbs up and/or comment go here.

It is only through awareness and education that we can all understand the plight of living with dementia and how much we all need to support them, and work towards a cure.  It is only through the strength and fortitude of people like Norms that we can be more understanding so those who need us the most aren't desserted because we are ignorant to the illness.

I believe in this cause and I hope you will also join in support for Norms and the millions of others who need us to understand. I hope you will share this post, and give Norms a thumbs up on You Tube.

You can also donate to this cause by going to the Dementia Awareness Day's fundraising page.

Many of us in America and other countries outside the UK may think this is for the UK so it doesn't affect us, but it does. Dementia isn't secluded or discriminatory.  We are in community globally and it affects us all. 

Personally I would like to see September 17 declared Dementia Awareness Day in every nation.

Angil Tarach-Ritchey (RN, GCM) has over 30 years of experience, and is a nationally known expert in senior care and advocacy.

More Insight and Advice for Caregivers

Original content Angil Tarach-Ritchey, the Alzheimer's Reading Room