I have dementia, yet you likely would not know

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Lyn Barela singing in the November 2019 Voices of the Last Frontier Chorus – Anchorage, Alaska, photo courtesy of Dave LaBelle ©2019

I have dementia, yet you likely would not know it as I can thus far keep It disguised. I can still function independently, yet I generally take two steps forward and one step back. Both of my parents had memory loss, not being able to live independently in their later years.

I keep lots of notes, which helps as long as I remember where I keep them. Being retired, I am my own best friend, basically because I do not put myself down. Many questions and comments are repeated; I get turned around when driving in town; information only lasts five seconds in my brain; please do not ask me what I did all day.

The worst part right now is how my dementia feels. I am clouded as if oxygen is not reaching my brain. Anxiety creeps in when I have time restraints. You might think I am doing fine, while I need to rest my brain to nap and reenergize.

Research indicates that more women than men have this disease. I cannot help but blame all of the years I spent multitasking as only Wonder Woman can do with my job, our home, and our children’s activities.

Singing with this group of those who understand Alzheimer’s validates that whatever lies ahead, I am still ME. We have camaraderie here. I am an intelligent woman who acknowledges my brain overload and how it short circuits.

You can help people like me by listening and loving, no matter what follows, as Alzheimer’s Is a progressive disease. See what I CAN offer this world as I am, not as how I should be.

Our thanks to Lyn, who shares her experience of living with Alzheimer’s. Lyn is a member of the Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska choral group, Voices of the Last Frontier.