Welcome to 2016

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 9.22.24 amThe new year has arrived, and I’m still wondering how on earth I arrived at the year 2000! The older we get, the quicker the years seems to go, but of course as I’ve speculated before, that is relative to our age as a year at my age, is more than 1/50th of my age, where as at the age of 5, it was at 1/5 of my life, and therefore a very small proportion of it.

2015 has been an incredible year with many amazing highs, and some devastating lows, and lots in between. I have felt the pain of some very special friends who had to face their first Christmas without their partners, and although it is a long time ago for me, I do recall the terrible sadness of the person who is missing at the table.

The emptiness and loneliness knowing others are spending times with their families, and that yours has died is very difficult to live with, especially when the media is full of couples and brightly shining happy, and fully functional families (as if they really do exist), all having a wonderful time. It is an incredibly difficult time, as most others are in party mode, and many, even close family and friends, barely remember you are still grieving deeply.

So, I salute those of you who have spent a first Christmas and New Years Eve without someone you love, and made it. I was with you in spirit all the way ❤ ❤ ❤

My final blog on my Living Beyond Dementia™ website was on one of my regular topics, and I firmly believe until the public discourse of dementia changes, living beyond dementia will not be achievable for many with dementia, nor even thought possible.  Suffering is optional, and therefore, we need to constantly remind those others who insist we are suffering, that this is hurting us, and not helping us to live better lives with dementia. Sure, dementia is a terminal, progressive chronic illness, and has changed how we see our futures, and most certainly how our lives will end, but we are all going to die any way, and it could be from cancer, or a car accident or an aneurism, and perhaps not because of a dementia at all. There are many days we suffer from all sorts of things, including dementia, but to keep labelling us as sufferers publicly is hurtful, and harmful.

We will all live until we die; just because you have dementia, or someone you love has dementia, that is no reason to assume the pseudo death now.

The best parts of my year have been related to our two sons both finding their individual passions for their life and work goals, and my husband who is always there for me, no matter what, even when I am short-tempered with him. They are the reason I live as well as I do with a diagnosis of, and alongside the very determined symptoms of a dementia. Without their support, many things that I have achieved would simply not be possible. My husband in particular, enables and supports me to be as independent as possible, but also in his role as my BUB (Back Up Brain), he helps me with the activities I can no longer do, including things such as very simple maths as I cannot even use a calculator any more. Technology also needs thanking, as without it, we would all be failing more often in the roles required on this sometimes hideous, sometimes amazing train ride called dementia.

Some of the lows of my year have included the continuing exclusion of any sort of relationship with many of my family members and some previously long term close friends, which as been very tough, especially at Christmas and at the other special occasions like the birthdays of my husband and two sons, as they have been cut off as well. There is nothing I can do to change them, so accepting it, and focusing on the things I can change and importantly, can still do, is what I have to do to get through it. I cannot change dementia either, but I can work on enablement and rehabilitation strategies, and positive thinking. For me, for now, this really works. I also know, this will change, but why worry about a future I cannot predict? Having so many global and other close friends makes it bearable. Thank you.

One of the true gifts of dementia, is it has helped me ‘see’ who are my real friends, those people who are with you when you are well and happy, as well as when you are sick or miserable, there for you with unconditional love and acceptance, and without judgement. These wonderful people, who are even there for me, if and when I’ve been behaving unwisely!

My top 5 posts on this blog published in 2015 were:

  1. Who’s got the challenging behaviours,
  2. Dementia care missing common sense #DAM2015 Day 14,
  3. People with dementia have feelings too…,
  4. The canvas of my musical knowledge is becoming blank, and
  5. Let us live better with dementia.

Whilst they are not the top posts since I commenced blogging on this site, they are the top ones out of the 268 new posts I published in 2015, which have also grown the total archive of this blog to 1,434 posts.

On top of that, I added 39 recipes in 2015 to my recipe blog, In The Kitchen, taking this to a total of 232 recipes, with readers from 44 countries. Quite a few of the recipes are from my grandmother and even a couple from my great grandmother, and I have also added a few from my cake business.

My newest blog, Living Beyond Dementia™ , where I will only publish once or twice a month, is the place I will focus on how to live, rather than only head towards aged care and death, after being diagnosed with a dementia.

Blogging is definitely a positive non pharmacological and psychosocial intervention for dementia, and especially for managing the complex loss and grief associated with the constant, progressive changes relentlessly being introduced into my life.

Last November, I received a formal letter from the University of Wollongong with a Conditional offer to commence a Doctor of Philosophy. Of course, I am incredibly nervous about my capacity to undertake such a journey, but also excited at the prospect of the intense ‘neuroplasticity brain workout’ it will ensure I undertake!

Dementia Alliance International is going from strength to strength, and I am excited about the year ahead as many more of our global goals and plans will come to fruition, and more of us are advocating and speaking out.

Last January I finished writing my first book on dementia, What the hell happened to my brain?: Living beyond dementia, and although it has taken a long time to finalise it for printing, I believe it will actually be released some time this month, and although nervous, also thrilled. I am also in the final stages of a book being published by New Holland Publishers and co-authored with me by Associate Professor Lee-Fay Low on dementia for an Australian audience. I also hope to sign another contract with Jessica Kingsley Publishers once this one has been released. So, thankfully, there are many more things to look forward to, other than some of the changes that will come from the symptoms of dementia.

There are many other good and perhaps also bad things that have happened, I am sure, but I cannot recall them at the moment. No doubt, my memory bank, also known as this blog, will tell me when I start to analyse it for my PhD, the first part of my research project.

Most of all, I hope you all have had a reasonable festive season, and 2016 will be wonderful for you. Happy New Year!

 

 

28 thoughts on “Welcome to 2016

  1. Congratulations Kate, on everything that you have achieved through the year 🙂 Congrats also on the 2 new book projects too ……. hope that 2016 is a healthy, happy and productive year for you, and of course for your family too 🙂

  2. The best New Year to you Kate and your family. As I keep saying, you are an inspiration to us all. Just keep doing what you do. Love Bron xo

  3. Thank you Kate for showing what can be acheived. As a carer in a Dementia specific unit, it is a struggle to change the dialogue and attitude of staff. Anyway, moving on…thank you for acknowledging the difficulties of grief. I lost my hubby in Nov2012. This was our 4th Christmas in different places, yet together. The grief doesn’t stop, it just goes on and you learn to handle it better….Happy New Year!…Denise

  4. Happy New Year lovely Lady, it has been a tough year hasn’t it. Let’ look to the New year being ‘new’ the high light of each day, find something new to celebrate, share and enjoy. That’s one of my goals. Love you to bits xxx

    • A tough year for many… especially for you farmers, who I think of often, always hoping for just the right amount of rain and sunshine! Huge hugs and love to you always xx

  5. A big year of blogging, advocacy and living behind you Kate and, no doubt a big one ahead as your blog outlines. I really look forward to hearing about the release of ‘What the Hell Happened to My Brain?’ and hope that your other writing projects go well. Happy New Year to you and your BUB and your sons. Keep on blogging Kate!

  6. Hi KateCongratulations on a remarkable 2015 with many personal achievements and goals reached. This would not have been possible without your foresight, inspiration and compassion from your devotion and dedication for PWD. Your many awards are testament to you and your devotion and dedication. You truly are an amazing lady and you keep me grounded every day. Much love and hugs to you Kate, may 2016 be full of excitement and achievements for all concerned.Wishing you Pete and the boys a happy and prosperous 2016

    Best wishes,MickMick CarmodyMobile +61 449 295 900Dementia Alliance International | @DementiaAlliancOnline Support Group Facilitator and HostSee the person, not the dementia

    Date: Thu, 31 Dec 2015 13:46:12 +0000 To: mikoc@live.com.au

    • Dear Mick… together, we can and will change the world for people living with dementia, one moment, one day, one week at a time. Thanks for being such a great friend, and dedicated member of DAI. The support groups are going from strength to strength, all because of YOU. Huge hugs to you and Sue always xx

  7. What a year we all have had. Yours certainly has had its highs and I prefer not to consider the lows, the become givens! So pleased about the Doctor of Philosophy. Why shouldn’t you be successful! Not to diminish your success, if universities are now providing additional support to young students with ADD, or other learning disabilities, why (as you have pontificated about for so long) should they not provide additional support for people with Dementia? Your comments and support to those of us who have gotten through our first Christmas and now facing a first New Year’s Eve (not to mention an entire new year) without people we love so much (I avoided “loved ones”) felt like love, so thank you! Family and friend desertion, which I also experienced, unforgivable … but understandable. That would never describe me so it is hard to comprehend why a person, especially a family member, would be so unthinking and so unloving but it does take all types (to be trite!) Anyway, Kate, wishing you a wonderful 2016 and looking forward to our continued over the air relationship! Fondly and love, Michael (and Gregory in spirit)

    • As you say, it takes all types! And yes, the message at the beginning of this blog was for you and a couple of other close friends who have lost their partners this year… we are in it together, even on the days you feel desperately alone. Much love always xox

  8. Ok to walk away from the people who have decided to leave us throw their ignorance . Am less stressed with person not being in my life with negative comments. you life when I think of them know they are missing out mucnh more than me
    Best wishes Kate & family we could not be here without love of husbands & children xx

    • In deed Anne, I agree. In fact this year, apart from a few times, I have been less burdened by not relationship with those who have now completely walked away, than what we had. My husband always had said, the boys and I are your family now, so just look forward. I do of course, love them dearly.. Best wishes to you and yours dear Anne xx

  9. Wishing for you gentle peace and much love my friend. I know you will make the very best out of it as you always do. I am praying you see more joy this year than sadness…Hugs to you and all the best to you and your family, both 2 legged and four legged 🙂 Love and hugs…VK ❤

  10. May 2016 be a year filled with blessings for you and your family. I want you to know how much I appreciate your sharing your life journey with us. It helps all of us to connect. I keep you in my prayers and I am inspired by you. God Bless. ♥

  11. Kate, you are amazing! Fancy sharing with us all so early into 2016. A most beautiful message. Bless you! All very best wishes for your non-pharam neuroplasticity work-outs this year.

    • Thanks Janet… the trick to that, was I worked out how to set up the blog to post automatically! I wrote it over a couple of weeks, then set it for 15 minutes past midnight (Aussie time!). xox

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