If it had not been for my wife Lee-Anne and Dementia Australia in those early days, I don’t know what or where I would be now.
I was diagnosed with dementia in August 2015. I was 55-years-old. I didn’t know what use I would be, but wanted to help and do something tangible to prove I still had something to contribute.
I heard about the Dementia Australia Advisory Committee and, since becoming involved with Dementia Australia, my wife Lee-Anne and I have started a site for people living with dementia, carers and health workers.
If it had not been for Lee-Anne and Dementia Australia in those early days, I don’t know what or where I would be now. I have always loved taking photos and needed to keep my mind active. Lee-Anne bought me a camera which I really enjoy using. I have been asked to take photos for several events, such as the Ned Kelly Weekend, Beechworth, and for the Gundagai show society.
The hardest part of living with dementia is the inability to remember how to do the little things, seemingly simple tasks that I once enjoyed, such as making timber furniture, oil painting or using tools are now difficult. Words – knowing they’re in my mind but I just don’t know them. People – not knowing who they are. Conversations, sequence of events and even the years they occurred. So many things.
I never expected to get dementia and was unprepared for its changes. I also never expected to be able to show things through my eyes or mind by way of my photos. If there were one thing that I would like to remind people about people living with dementia, it’s that outwardly we are still the same person. What you can’t see is the person you know is still here, we just don’t know how to tell you.