Hello, I am Kelvin, 50 years old retired automobile mechanic. I am suffering from dementia for the past 4 years. Since then, I have learnt many things, ‘many real things in life’. I wanted to share my story to spread awareness among people. Because in India, like me there are many people who do suffer from dementia. According to statistics, it’s about 4.1 billion people who suffer with it. I hope my story may help you in making difference in life.
Life is totally unpredictable. You never know what would be in store for you in the pages of life. Always it’s better to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Four years ago I was diagnosed with dementia. When I heard it for the first time, I was emotionally drowned and collapsed. Because I knew there’s no permanent remedy for such a condition. Parallelly, my mind started popping many questions – my son’s future, daughter’s wedding and my wife – what will she do without me?
Later, the doctor sat with me for an hour and she explained to me about what is dementia, the necessary coping skills and the treatment plans to follow. I was left with no choice but to stand brave and focus on dealing with dementia. Dementia was now a reality in the story of my life! I had to face it.
When I returned home, I told my family about what the doctor said. After a few seconds of silence, everybody was engulfed in tears. Also, there were a few rapid fire questions. ‘So one day you will forget our names?’, ‘You will be not remembering us? ‘.
My response was quite composed I replied, “ with all your support I can handle it! Just be there for me and, I will be just fine.” And they all wrapped me with a big warm hug.
Initially, I was experiencing a few issues related to mood. I would get easily irritable, for petty things like if my daughter would ask me if I took my meds.
My wife and I had a couple of ritual. Whenever we fought, we go to our favourite restaurant in MG road to resolve. That was a random day, almost 7.45 pm. She ordered main course, they were taking time to get it. So, I ordered a few starters to calm my tummy. After returning home she said, “you ate too much, it’s not good for your health”. Then I started noticing there was a drastic change in my appetite. Also, I began having issues with sleep, wasn’t getting enough sleep. Furthermore, in spite of being a mechanic, I experienced issues to parking the car.
When I began to experience the severe symptoms of dementia, my daughter took care of me. She keeps a tab of the follow-ups, medications and my routines. At times I gave her hard moments like I hesitate to take bath, ask unnecessary questions, won’t cooperate for eating or debate for evening walks. In spite of all situations, she wasn’t giving up. I must say she put up with all my tantrums and managed my behaviour and Her symptoms quite well.
The reason I was able to manage my symptoms is because of the right treatment and medication. I have taken psychotherapy sessions to take control of my behavioural issues. I am an active participant in dementia support groups, both in my rehab and on social media. It helps me in identifying the signs and the triggers. Also, it gives me a platform to share and open up with like-minded people.
I was diagnosed with dementia when it was in its early stages. I advise you, don’t ignore your early signs such as forgetfulness, unusual mood swings and sleep disruption. Seek professional help and avail the treatment options. Early interventions may play a vital role in managing the symptoms of dementia.