Darce Fardy: How dementia handles me

A close friend suggested to me that because I write so much about how I handle dementia I should devote a column on how dementia handles me. I don’t know where to start. Dorothea and my family will have to help me there.

The most obvious issue is balance and that attracts the attention of family. I use a walker when I am out and and about and a clumping cane when I am walking around the house. She knows when I am coming. Taking the stairs I need rails for both hands. I have to watch my language when I go on about that.

When Dorothea goes out without me I ask where she is going and when she will return. I worry about the traffic. If I hear a siren I immediately assume the worst. In a case like that she may text me with a reassurance. There’s an old song about “looking on the sunny side of life.” I gotta get back to that.

I think my temperament is fine. I don’t pity myself but I regret how it has affected Dorothea. My mood doesn’t alter when my memory lets me down. In fact I am quite neighbourly and often, while at a restaurant, I strike up a conversation with other diners. They usually have a few questions for Dorothea. Because of the way I react to my condition, strangers feel they can approach us with some questions.

At lunch recently we sat across from two elderly men. I learned they were two old friends who enjoyed chatting. I was curious about how long they were friends so, as expected, I started a conversation with them. One of them recognized me and asked some questions. As usual I replied with alacrity. They also had questions for Dorothea.

I now have a medical alert system if I fall. I wear a gizmo around my neck and a receiver of sorts inside. This is one thing I hope never happens.


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