Leaping Along with Dementia

Leah Health Guide
  • I have been very busy with my upcoming 36th family reunion.  My reunion committee is comprised of 2nd generation planners of the event.  We met at my house to finalize plans for this year.  In addition to me having to develop the agenda, I also type out the notes.  This year, I have used the computer to send out all communications to the members of the committee.  That has really helped.  To top off all my duties, I also took over the production of the annual family newsletter from my sister who has had a tragedy strike her family. 


    I didn’t think I would be able to continue in these activities after my diagnosis of vascular dementia.  At first, I thought life would go downhill quickly.  After reading extensively and the addition of Aricept and Cymbalta to my medication regime, I have found that I am capable of doing much more than I ever thought I would be.  Don’t get me wrong—I still have little short term memory and chores take much longer.  I must be very methodical in anything I do.  I have to break longer projects into small pieces which can be accomplished a little at a time.  And that brings me to my latest big accomplishment.

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    Microsoft Publisher.  I have used it for the first time!  Our annual family newsletter was developed using this program.  The program was not as hard to use as I thought.  It gave me, the beginner, templates from which to choose.  Once I chose the template, I could attack it for a small period of time each day.  Though the process was fairly simple, it took me weeks to produce a four page newsletter.  And that’s okay.  At least I completed the project! 


    I did ask my sister to proofread the paper for me.  The only problem was that she did not have the original material to check the spelling of names and accuracy of information.  She’ll just have to trust me on that.  She did find a few typos which I corrected.  Her major complaint was that the print was too small and that our father, our 93 year old patriarch of the family, will definitely complain about not being able to read it without a magnifying glass.  I suppose font sizes of 9-16 could seem pretty small for those with vision problems…that is something I had not considered.  I think my dementia often does not allow me to use “common sense”.  That’s just something I will have to deal with.  I try not to internalize the problems this causes…


    Agnes de Mille wrote:

    Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next, or how.  The moment you know how, you begin to die a little.  The artist never entirely knows.  We guess.  We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.


    And that is how I live my life with vascular dementia, I take leap after leap in the dark.  This past month, I taught my first Strengthening Your Mind class AND learned to use Microsoft Publisher, completing our annual family reunion newsletter.  If I can do this, imagine what you out there, my readers, can do!!!  Take a leap!

Published On: October 02, 2008