The Quadrant Shopping Centre have published this amazing interview with the lovely Dawn who joined the Dementia Hwb earlier this year and is now the Buddy project coordinator.
Dawn has early on-set dementia and is an employee at our Dementia Hwb. Read her wonderful story:
“I was lost, when I got my diagnosis.
“The testing for dementia came about following a funny comment from my partner, after I had started to forget daily tasks. We always poke fun at one another and one day he said ‘you’re losing your marbles’. It wasn’t until a couple of days later that I realised that something wasn’t right, so I went to the Doctors.
“I did a memory test which I struggled with. What really got me was being asked to count backwards from on hundred in sevens. I got to 93 and I couldn’t go any further. A scan and consultation followed that session.
“My daughter joined me at the consultation, where I was told I had early on-set dementia. I felt numb. I didn’t know what to say. I was frozen.Following that consultation, I thought my life was over.
“My family tried encouraging me to leave the house, but I just couldn’t face it. One day, I went to the Quadrant, after much coaxing, and we walked past the Dementia Hwb. The last thing I wanted to do was walk in, but my partner Brian, got me through the doors. I was greeted by a wonderful lady but I just felt exposed. I asked her how she would know what I was going through. To which she responded, ‘I’ve had dementia for 10 years!’
“I couldn’t believe it. How was someone with dementia able to work in a bustling shopping centre? It’s certainly the invisible illness. This was a turning point for me. My life wasn’t over, maybe I was just beginning a new chapter?
“Then another member from the team mentioned the Dementia Buddy Scheme. This was my chance to give back and support others going through similar. I loved volunteering in this role and was offered a paid role after a few months. It’s been a rollercoaster, but I feel like I have a new lease of life.
“Life doesn’t end with a diagnosis, there are so many opportunities out there and I’d advise anyone going through what I’m going through to come in for a cuppa and a chat. It may just be the best thing to happen to you. You only regret the things you don’t do.”
The Buddy Project
The Buddy Project is an opportunity to have one on one conversations with someone who is on the same journey as you are. Whether you already have a diagnosis or are on the way to getting one, you can speak to your buddy, even if it’s not about dementia. To access the service, pop into the Dementia Hwb, or call on the number below.
You Are Not Alone
Just a quick reminder that if this article has brought up anything you would like to talk about, you are not alone. If you have concerns about your memory, care for someone with dementia or are looking for additional information and advice the Dementia Hwb is here for you. You can visit the Hwb 7 days a week between 11am-3pm, call us on 01792 304519 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We can also offer memory assessments with the Community Memory Support Team for Swansea Bay University Health Board. This is not a diagnosis but instead designed for people without a diagnosis who are worried about their memory to see if they need further referral to a GP or alternate memory test.