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The latest series of the always-surprising ABC TV show, You Can’t Ask That, has been released on iView, and includes an episode dedicated to dementia and the experiences of people living with dementia.
The episode will also air live on ABC TV at 9pm on 13 July.
During the episode, several Dementia Australia Dementia Advocates were asked confronting questions, and we applaud them for answering with such honesty and in many cases, a big dose of humour.
Russell Martin, who was interviewed for the show, said he volunteered to be part of the episode so he could talk about what is it really like to live with dementia.
“When I put my name forward, I thought - you beauty! This will give people a perspective for what you will face when diagnosed with dementia,” Russell said.
“Dementia is such a big amorphous of people on different paths, everyone has a slightly different twist, but it was good to show the challenge dementia brings in peoples’ lives.
“I know the shock jock bits get more airtime and I feel sorry for anyone who watches this and has been diagnosed this week.
“But it’s not all doom and gloom. I can still do a lot, two years after diagnosis and I’ve had more good than bad days.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’d still get the pill to get rid of dementia if I could! But for me it’s doing the things you want to do and get the support you need for the things you need. For example, someone comes and chops my wood now. That’s not a bad outcome.”
Russell was filmed near his farm in Orange, NSW.
“I was there three hours and at the end I was exhausted!
“I thought they did a good job at making me feel relaxed.”
One of the first questions asked in the episode was “when did you realise you were losing your marbles?”
In the episode, Russell speaks about his experience of pouring himself a glass of wine at a friends’ house and not getting the wine into the glass. It was one of the early signs his concentration was impacted and ultimately, led to him receiving his diagnosis.
His advice to other people who also live with dementia is to let people know about the diagnosis so they understand what you can and can’t do, and then they can act appropriately when something like the wine incident happens.
“If you tell people what you can and cannot do, people can adapt,” he said.
“I told everyone in my rotary club the week I was diagnosed so they knew what was happening.
“I’ve been included the same way as before, but people know what’s possible and what’s not.
“Also, a friend of mine knows I have trouble remembering names so every time she sees me she introduces herself by name – ‘Hi Russ, it’s Ellen’.
“It’s a nice way to prompt me each time and then we can have a chat.”
Some of the other questions asked included 'will you remember being on this show?'
Dementia Australia thanks all seven Dementia Advocates who participated in the filming for this episode – Russell, Val Schache, Theresa Flavin, Gwenda Darling, Kevyn Morris, and Sarah Ashton.
The episode on dementia is available on ABC iView now and will also air live on ABC TV at 9pm on 13 July.