For me, my personal Walk through Dementia is the one I am taking with my 90-year old mum.
I can best describe the daily walk in this way: some days the power is on, and some days the power is off.
Whilst I see myself as empathetic, and truly, full of sympathy for her in what at times is a truly horrible journey, I think in reality, it’s impossible to put myself into her shoes.
This morning I was in the Google Playstore checking out other Apps to see what sorts of images and wording we would include for our soon-to-be-released MemBo NoticeBoard App – see my note at the end of this Blog.
In my discoveries, I naturally wound up looking for Apps that related to Memory Loss, Confusion, Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.
A Walk through Dementia
There are lots of great resources, but the one that blew my mind was A Walk through Dementia – a unique Google Cardboard App created by Alzheimer’s Research, UK.
It gives us an extraordinary opportunity to literally look through the eyes of someone with Dementia – to see what she sees, to hear her thoughts and to witness her emotions.
Even for me, experiencing my mother’s journey two to three times every week, it was shocking!
It’s sobering, gut-wrenching and tragic – and I challenge you to take a minute and look through her eyes!
There are three videos, and here are the links
But it’s not just about being sympathetic, and maybe realising that you should take a minute if you strike someone who can’t manage to pay at the cash register.
50 million Dementia Sufferers
There are 50 million Dementia Sufferers globally right now.
By 2050, if we don’t figure out how to do better at heading this epidemic off at the pass, that number will grow to 131.5 million.
In 2015, the global cost was $818 Billion, and that is set to reach a Trillion at some stage in 2018.
Women are the worst off with females accounting for around 55% of people living with Dementia, and around 65% of the deaths attributed to it.
For women, Dementia has surpassed heart attack – the leading cause of death since the early 20th Century – and as a woman, if I don’t get Dementia myself, I may be one of the 60% caring for the others!
So what can we do?
I’m not a medical practitioner.
But increasingly, I see that we should ALL be thinking about this in our early to mid 40s – not waiting until we reach our 80s or 90s.
Dementia has stages, and the first stage – where only you know that you’re having some memory or organisational problems – cuts in 10 to 20 years before there are any clinical symptoms.
So one of the reasons the existing medication doesn’t work, is that it is quite simply prescribed too late in the process.
We ALL need to be thinking prevention, not cure.
World authority, Dr Dale Bredesen has proven that there are over 40 indicators that simply don’t factor into our existing tests in any meaningful way – levels of Inflammation and Toxins, Sleep patterns, Aerobic Exercise, Deafness to name just a few.
He describes it like fixing a roof – if there are 41 holes, fixing one isn’t going to cut it. Hence, a singe drug isn’t going to cut it either – the causes and symptoms are just too disparate.
You might already thinking about this, but the issue is, what are you DOING about it?!
If you haven’t given this some serious thought, I highly recommend you check out Neuroscientist Lisa Genova’s Ted Talk.
She wrote the book “Still Alice” which became a movie, and her message is clear.
Prevention not Cure
Prevention is what we need to work for, and there ARE things that we can do, even at 40, 50, 60 or 70.
Click on the image below to hear her talk.
As to our MemBo NoticeBoard system, it’s been very exciting!
We have been testing the system with my mum for 4 months, and it has literally changed our lives – and hers!
Just as an example, we have gone from up to 10 phone calls leading up to an appointment, to no calls most times, and at other times just 1 or 2 depending on how she is.
Who do you know that’s just not managing the day to day because of memory problems?
Whether it’s because of dementia, an acquired brain injury or a mental illness – the result is stress and worry for individuals and for families and carers.
We can help!