Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me [St. Paul], or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:8-9).
Hands up if you meet someone and can’t get their name into your head.
Hands up if you often misplace your car keys.
Hands up if you leave a room intending to do something, only to forget what you were going to do.
Does that mean that you have dementia? Thankfully, no. The reality is that as we age we find it harder to bring things to mind. I have found the simplest thing to do is ask people for their name – and then use it during the subsequent conversation! (Another strategy is to focus on their voice and see if that will draw out the name. Sometimes I will run through the alphabet and see if their name pops into my mind. Sometimes I will turn it into a game: “What’s the first letter of your name?”. The person will often play along, and the mental game is remarkably effective in getting both their first name and surname – and sometimes other details about them as well).
If you misplace your car keys, simply put them in the same place each time. Create a new habit. It won’t take long, and it will save you a lot of frustration.
If you leave a room and forget the task you’re supposed to be doing, the simplest thing to do is backtrack. Go back towards the room, and usually the task will pop into your head. Try it – it works!
These three “hands up” scenarios are normal signs of ageing, not usually signs of dementia. I often quip that “If you can remember that you’ve forgotten, you don’t have dementia”. There’s a lot of truth in that statement. Hands up if you agree!
However, if you can no longer recognize people or remember their names, if you can’t remember what the car keys are for, and if you can’t follow through a task, then you should see your Doctor.
A Doctor I can recommend is Dr. Andrew Rochford, though I’ve never met him in person. Instead, I have watched him online, and he’s definitely worth watching! Why? Because he can help you to answer a vital question “Is it dementia?”
In my original post (25th June 2018) I went on to recommend a Dementia Australia website called “Is it dementia? A resource for recognising the signs of dementia”. I supplied a link, then spoke about what was available on the site. You can read the rest of my original post below.
Sadly the website was taken down at the end of June 2018 due to the cost of hosting it. This wonderful resource is no longer available online. However, there is a DVD which I will endeavour to purchase. I’m not sure how that will help you as you’re looking at this online, but stay tuned!
All that said, my original question is still worth asking: “Is it dementia?” It could simply be the decline of normal ageing. It could be delirium, caused by something like an infection, that comes on quickly and is able to be treated. It could be depression.
So what should you do? Consult your Doctor and get a diagnosis. But don’t go alone – take along someone on whom you can depend: someone you can trust, who will keep a level head, who will do the listening and write down what the Doctor says.
How can you remember all that? They all start with the letter “d”!
With joy and delight,
The original post from early June continued like this:
Dementia Australia has created an excellent website called “Is it dementia? A resource for recognising the signs of dementia”. The link is:
What impresses me about this site is that it looks at seven different “Industries”. You can see this on their home page:
The “Community” tab brings you to the “Introduction – Dementia in the Community” screen:
This enables you to watch four different videos: The Introduction, The Tricky Passenger, The Queue Jumper, and The Conclusion.
You can see Dr. Andrew Rochford in action in the Introduction and Conclusion. Each screen allows you to access Dementia Australia Fact (Help) Sheets, read a transcript of that video, and show the captions as you watch the video. Dementia Australia has thought of everything!
Why am I so keen on this site? Because it’s true to life! We know what it’s like when people jump the queue. Are they doing it deliberately, or not? That’s the key!
It’s true to life because dementia doesn’t exist in isolation. It affects people, and people exist in Community. They also go shopping (Retail), use Transport, call on Emergency Services, and so on. It is up to us to make life easier for those living with dementia, wherever and whenever we may be. Sites like this, whether viewed alone or as part of a formal industry training program, are vital.
It’s true to life, because life is precious. On January 6th 2017 Bernard Gore, an elderly man living with dementia, got lost at the Westfield Bondi shopping centre.
Bernard entered a stairwell and could not find his way out. Tragically he was found dead three weeks later, even though people searching for him had been close by. What made it all the more tragic was that a number of people in the shopping centre, including shopkeepers, saw how confused he was, and did little to help. You can read the story here:
If people had viewed the “Retail” videos on this website perhaps Bernard would still be alive? That’s definitely true to life!
In our Bible reading St. Paul urges us to think about the right things – and then to put that into practice. Think about this: Is it dementia? And if so, put what you learn from this site into practice. What you watch is true – and it gives life.