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I was just 55 when I first started to notice
the signs of Alzheimer’s disease, but I
didn’t get a proper diagnosis until two
years ago. I’m now 64, so that gives you
an idea of how lengthy the process was.
Although I’m not sure whether it’s
hereditary, dementia has been in my
family for a long time. My mother lived
with it, and my grandmother before her.
For that reason, I’ve always been aware
of the symptoms and so, when I started
to experience them myself, I told my GP.
However, he kept telling me it wasn’t
possible, and that I was too young.
It all started with me forgetting small
things, which seemed strange to me
as I’d always had a very good memory.
As these smaller things began turning
into bigger things, I found myself having
to work out strategies to help me to
remember. Having lived with diabetes all
my life, when I started to forget to take
my insulin, I grew even more concerned.
For a long time, my doctor insisted my
memory concerns were down to other
things. He said I was probably feeling
vague due to low blood sugar, but I knew
that wasn’t the case. I kept insisting that I
believed it to be dementia and, eventually,
he put me forward for a proper screening.
I would urge all GPs to take the
concerns of their patients seriously. The
minute somebody says they think they
might have dementia, these concerns
need to be investigated, regardless of age.
People need to get a diagnosis as soon as
possible so they can benefit early from the
When the diagnosis came, some friends
were equally as sceptical. They told me
it wasn’t possible to get this diagnosis
because I was a spring chicken!
Over time, though, they have accepted
it. Some have been wonderful, while
others tire very easily of the repetitiveness
and can get very short with my behaviour.
That sort of negativity is the most
upsetting part for me.
I got involved with the Dementia
Advocates program because I’d like
to think by talking publically about my
condition, I’m helping to educate people
and, in doing so, perhaps I can make
them more empathetic.
Last year, I spoke at the Spotlight on
Dementia conference in Sydney. I talked
about my situation and how I would love to
see all people with dementia accepted and
engaged with in an appropriate manner.
I know that certain aspects of dementia-
related behaviour can be frustrating,
because I’ve been on the other side as a
carer. But as somebody now living with the
disease, I know a little bit of understanding
goes a long way.
A LITTLE UNDERSTANDING
GOES A LONG WAY
HAVING CARED FOR RELATIVES WITH DEMENTIA BEFORE
BEING DIAGNOSED HERSELF, ROSLYN GREEN HAS SEEN THIS
DISEASE FROM TWO VERY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES.
PEOPLE NEED TO
GET A DIAGNOSIS
AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
QWhy did you become a
My mother had a stroke in 1999
and by 2008 had developed
dementia. My father was then
diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
disease in 2011. I became a
Dementia Advocate in the year
before my parents passed
away [in 2014]. I want to share
my story to help others, and
I’m pleased I can provide a voice
for culturally and linguistically
QWhat one thing do carers
need to hear?
Asking for help does not make us
weak. We can attend workshops
hosted by Alzheimer’s Australia
NSW and other organisations
to equip ourselves with the
necessary information. We have
to look after ourselves or we
cannot look after our loved ones.
QWhat would you say to
someone who wants to
be a Dementia Advocate?
I have met many new people and
have learned new things, and I
have also gained confidence. As
the search for a cure continues,
it is important that we do all
we can to improve the lives of
people living with dementia
and their carers. By becoming a
Dementia Advocate, we can all
do our bit for the cause.
Dementia Advocates give a voice to people living with dementia and their carers. If
you would like to be a Dementia Advocate, contact Jo-Ann Brown or visit the
Alzheimer’s Australia website. T: (02) 8873 4636 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org |
26/5/17 11:22 am
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