Sunday , June 20 2021

Living with dementia: "I can not let this stop me," says Windsor.



June and Cleveland MaGee are shown in their apartment in Windsor on January 8, 2019. June suffers from vascular dementia and has a very limited short-term memory but continues to live life to the fullest.

Dan Janisse / Windsor Star

Do not tell June MaGee, you're a little distracted, too.

"I'm not afraid to tell anyone that I have dementia," said the 80-year-old woman in Windsor this week. "Sometimes you tell someone and he says," Oh, no, no, I forget things all the time, too, and I say it's not the same thing. You forget things. You could go back. Not mine.

Being afraid to talk about dementia, not understanding or trying to understand dementia, and joining that your forgetfulness is something like Alzheimer's disease is not helpful to more than half a million Canadians living with dementia.

January is Alzheimer's Awareness Month and this year the campaign focuses on people living with dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, and erasing stigma.

Fifty-one percent of Canadians admitted using derogatory or stigmatizing language on dementia in a 2017 online survey commissioned by the Alzheimer Society. About 30% of respondents said they were telling dementia-related jokes.

One in four Canadians said they would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia.

Do not joke about your forgetfulness with a reference to Alzheimer's disease, said Peggy Winch, fund development manager and community involvement at the Alzheimer Society of Windsor and Essex County.

"You do not mock" "Oh, that must be the cancer I have," she said. "This is really a disease and it's not a matter of joking."

The experience of everyone with dementia and their progression is different, she said. Some continue to drive and work.

"People can still live well with dementia," Winch said.

If you do not tell anyone, you'll be more isolated from society, said MaGee, who found your friends very helpful.

MaGee is living with vascular dementia caused by weakened blood flow in her brain. She was diagnosed in 2012. She suddenly did not know where she was when she was in her apartment. There is no cure, she has limited short-term memory and does not know how quickly her dementia will progress.

However, she and her husband Cleveland remain active. When she had to stop serving communion after a moment of panic when she could not remember what to do next, she proceeded to clean the silver vessels in the Church of the Assumption. The couple goes to the memorial cafe at the Ojibway Nature Center, where people living with dementia and their caregivers leave. She wants to encourage the newcomers because someone put their arms around her the first time she went and said, "You'll be fine."

"I can not continue to be frustrated, even if I am. I can not let this stop me," she said of what she had learned in the first year after her diagnosis.

MaGee and her husband have just returned from Cuba and are going again. She may not remember details of the trip later, but she will enjoy it.

Ron Robert of London is one of the people whose story is being presented in the national newspaper "Yes. I live with dementia "campaign this month.

The 81-year-old man is living with Alzheimer's disease. He was diagnosed three years ago.

Robert took a political science course at Wilfrid Laurier University and went from a D to an A. He now studies at King's University College in London and concludes a research paper on the benefits of education for people with dementia .

"Life has lots of bumps on the road. My dementia is just one of those bumps. You do not give up any time you come across a barrier, "he said.

Related

There are more than half a million Canadians living with dementia and that number should double to one million in less than 15 years.

It is estimated that 7,480 residents of Windsor and Essex County have dementia.

In London, there are 8,500 people living with dementia.

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"I'm not afraid." June and Cleveland MaGee are shown at their apartment in Windsor on Tuesday. June has vascular dementia and has a very limited short-term memory, but said that this does not stop her from living her life to the fullest.

Dan Janisse /

Windsor Star


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