Joyce’s Story

I was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment a few years ago, but since then I’ve realized things have been getting worse. This dragged me down both emotionally and physically. I felt embarrassed when I forgot things, but other people didn’t seem to notice as much as I did. For example, in conversations, I know I have something to add and contribute, but then I draw blanks and can’t find the words for what I want to say.

My diagnosis has now changed to dementia and the Society continues to help me find reassurance and self-confidence. The virtual support group for people living with dementia has been a main support for me. All of us in the group share a common denominator – we all understand and learn from each other. I’ve been a part of this group for years now, since my first diagnosis, and we’re like a family.

When I first joined the group, one of the other participants said, “It’s a lot better to laugh than to cry” and that just stuck. Our support group is considered “the laughing group” because that’s what we do. We’re always laughing with each other. Sometimes what I may think is a negative, someone else in the group can turn it around into a positive and then we start giggling. Laughing like that makes me feel like I’m sixteen years old again!

The group facilitators are wonderful too. They make sure we all have a chance to share – and it’s the sharing that really makes a difference. You realize that someone else is in the same position as you or is in the same state of mind. Through the group, I’ve built up my confidence and now advocate for myself when I need to. Dementia is nothing to hide. I’ve noticed an increase in acceptance for dementia and similar conditions, but we’re not fully there yet. I’m 81 years old and I want to stick around for many more years so I can see how acceptance around dementia will continue to grow.

My gratefulness to the Society will never end. They’ve made my life livable because I saw only the dark side of dementia before coming to them. Now I see the laughter, the strength in community and the good in others who can accept you for who you are.

What are some tips you would give to others experiencing dementia?

  • Call the Alzheimer Society.

The Society can help you. I don’t know what I would do now without them. I call or email anytime I need support and the staff are always there to listen.

  • Dementia isn’t something to be embarrassed about.

It’s something happening to you, and many others are going through the same things you are. There are resources out there to help you understand more about it.

  • Ask questions.

It’s so helpful to ask a lot of questions and become better informed on dementia and what to expect.

  • Reach out to others.

I’m never afraid now to share my experiences or chat with others who may be struggling with dementia. It’s important to share, listen and learn from others. Making those connections really does help.


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