Dementia, NaNoWriMo and staying engaged

November is the month for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo and I bravely (stupidly??!!) signed up to give it another go this year. I am way behind the 1600 words per day they suggest you write to keep up, but if I get all my other writing finished by the middle of next week, I’ll give it another crack! It was a lot of fun last year, and although I’ve done nothing with the 50,000 words I wrote last year, it definitely cemented the discipline of daily writing and blogging.

Having dementia does not mean you have to give up doing crazy and fun things like NaNoWriMo, or blogging, or living beyond your diagnosis. For some, following a diagnosis of dementia, their whole life become about dementia, and many forget to keep living the other parts of their lives. It is not because they mean to, but probably a negative side effect of the ‘Prescribed Disengagement’ given out to us following a diagnosis. Writing or other creative therapies are brilliant for helping people manage grief and loss, and the negative emotional effects of terminal or chronic illness, or other crisis, and is known to be healing.

An article today, Dementia Friendly Communities – Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room which obviously is about dementia friendly communities, is something I have had a dream about for Australia since March this year. It links in with my belief people with dementia must stay engaged in their pre-diagnosis lives for as long as possible, and for younger people, to remain employed for as long as possible, requesting assistance in the same way as a person who has been disabled by other illnesses or an accident. Just an idea which might help to remove the discrimination, stigma and isolation, and will help others see that people with dementia are still very capable of contributing positively.

7 thoughts on “Dementia, NaNoWriMo and staying engaged

  1. Thank you Kate. Hoping and praying for a cure for dementia. It must be so hard for you but I can feel your love of life, every day, and you are encouraging so many people. “Inspirational” is an over-used word these days. You are inspirational 😉

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  2. I LOVED this post Kate! Good luck with your novel – but in particular I love the notion of carrying on “doing crazy and fun things…. and living beyond your diagnosis”. Great attitude!

    I had a significant “anniversary” last week and was persuaded to “write my story” for my friend Sarah Reed’s lovely “Age Page” blog. You might like to take a look: http://www.theagepage.co.uk/the_age_page/2012/11/gills-story.html

    Keep blogging… and keep living in the moment and having fun 🙂

    Gill xx

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    • Thanks Gill, and yes, I will keep on blogging. I love your story, and especially relate to this “Life-threatening is the ULTIMATE in empowerment.” as I’ve had more than one life threatening illness, and dementia seems to be the ultimate one, where one simply starts to disappear, and in the beginning oh so slowly… and too much insight about how it will end (at least for me). Keep living in the monent too, it is the only way to go! 😉

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