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My husband is leaving me. No dramas, no slammed doors - well, OK, a few slammed doors - and no suitcase in the hall, but there is another woman involved. Her name is Dementia.
My dementia hasn't just affected me - it's affected my friends and family, too.
I've never minded solitude. For a writer, it's a natural condition. But caring for a dementia sufferer leads to a peculiar kind of loneliness.
Those with dementia are still people and they still have stories and they still have character and they're all individuals and they're all unique. And they just need to be interacted with on a human level.
That's the thing with dementia. If you're with somebody who has a serious illness, you can usually talk to them, have a laugh every now and then - the person is still with you. With dementia, there's no conversation; there's no togetherness, no sharing.
The baby boomers are getting older, and will stay older for longer. And they will run right into the dementia firing range. How will a society cope? Especially a society that can't so readily rely on those stable family relationships that traditionally provided the backbone of care?
Adrenaline is wonderful. It covers pain. It covers dementia. It covers everything.
When you deal with a person who's experiencing dementia, you can see where they're struggling with knowledge. You can see what they forget completely, what they forget but they know what they once knew. You can tell how they're trying to remember.
Dementia is often regarded as an embarrassing condition that should be hushed up and not spoken about. But I feel passionately that more needs to be done to raise awareness, which is why I became an ambassador for the Alzheimer's Society.
I'm one of those who cut off seeing people after a certain time, when the weight is gone and they sound like the dementia is very advanced - I don't want to see that. I don't even go in to look at the body. That's not my last memory.
Seven hundred thousand people who have dementia in this country are not heard. I'm fortunate; I can be heard. Regrettably, it's amazing how people listen if you stand up in public and give away $1 million for research into the disease, as I have done.
We can alleviate physical pain, but mental pain - grief, despair, depression, dementia - is less accessible to treatment. It's connected to who we are - our personality, our character, our soul, if you like.
With something like cancer, there is a feeling that you can fight it in some way or control your response to it, but with dementia there is the fear of losing control of your mind and your life.
Science is, rightly, searching for drugs to arrest ageing or to slow the advance of dementia. But the evidence suggests that many of the most powerful factors determining how you age come from what you do, and what you do with others: whether you work, whether you play music, whether you have regular visitors.
If Republicans are aiming for the heart, for compassion, the last thing they should do is abandon the sanctity of life. Instead, they should tell Americans that they believe in the dignity and value of every human being, from the defenseless unborn child, to the newborn with a disability, to the 90-year-old dealing with dementia.
Dementia is our most-feared illness, more than heart disease or cancer.
Greater public recognition will also be critical in encouraging prevention and early intervention, and more generally in building public support to meet the challenges of dementia.
His death certificate says he died first of pneumonia and secondly of Alzheimer's disease. They could have listed another cause of death: a refusal to properly care for dementia sufferers, even when they are violent, and an equal inability to care for their carers. My dad died of dementia, but also because dying was the easiest way to treat him.
The science supporting the relationship between carbohydrates and dementia is quite exciting, as it paves the way for lifestyle changes that can profoundly affect a person's chances of remaining intact, at least from a brain perspective.
Literary dementia seems dated now, but there was a time when a month in the funny farm was as de rigueur for budding writers as an M.F.A. is now. To be sent away was a badge of honor; to undergo electroshock, a glorious martyrdom.
Australia is already a world leader in dementia research, treatment and care.
Dementia is not exclusively a problem of the developed world.
My mother watched her loving husband look at her with blankness or contempt and sometimes hatred. And yet dementia is classed as a social condition, so that the state is not required to pay for long-term residential care. Calling it what it is - brain damage - is too expensive.
I hate to sound this way but, 'Why me? Why me with dementia?'
You don't just wake up one day with dementia or Alzheimer's; these conditions are developmental. Even when a problem triggers the need to collect data, it's reviewed by a specialist and filed away. There's no central repository allowing information to be shared across a multitude of researchers worldwide.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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