On this International Day of Friendship, we want to highlight the transformative power of genuine connections and understanding, particularly for those living with dementia. One of our esteemed members, Lyn Rogers, was diagnosed in November 2015 with FTD (Frontotemporal Dementia) and later had to confront PPA (Primary Progressive Aphasia) with apraxia. Lyn lives in a residential care home, and graciously shares her experiences and insights as a woman living with dementia, shedding light on the impact of friendship and the incredible support she found through Dementia Alliance International.
Friendships Meaning for Lyn Rogers
Lyn beautifully defines friendships as a bond based on common beliefs and shared values. It's about trust, affection, and the ability to share both joy and sorrow. For Lyn, friendships evoke warm and fuzzy feelings, bringing happiness and a sense of comfort. It is in the company of friends that Lyn finds solace and experiences the true essence of being understood and accepted.
The Impact of Dementia Diagnosis on Lyn's Friendships
The journey of living with dementia can be challenging, and it is often accompanied by unexpected changes in relationships. Lyn shares her experience of a 10-year relationship that sadly came to an end after her dementia diagnosis. The person she cared deeply for feared the responsibility of looking after her and worried that others would pity him. Such reactions can be disheartening and isolating, leaving a person with dementia feeling vulnerable and misunderstood.
The impact of DAI on Lyn's Friendships
Discovering Dementia Alliance International (DAI) turned out to be a lifeline for Lyn. Finally, she found a supportive community that not only listened to her but also understood her for the person she truly is. It provided her with the reassurance that she was still a valued individual, despite her diagnosis. Lyn emphasizes how DAI's understanding and acceptance made her feel like a "proper person" once again. She reflects on a family member's initial negative response to her decision to join the support group but is glad that their understanding has improved over time. Through DAI, Lyn formed amazing friendships, creating a new and happy life filled with mutual understanding and respect.
Lyn speaks from the heart when describing how DAI's peer-to-peer support groups have been a lifesaver for her. These groups have become a source of laughter, fun, and learning from one another. During the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, when visits were restricted, these support groups were particularly invaluable to Lyn, providing companionship and friendship even in residential care. Being a part of these groups allowed Lyn to make friends from all around the world, expanding her network and enriching her life. She expresses immense gratitude to the founders of DAI for creating these meaningful spaces that have brought so much joy and connection to her life.
As we celebrate the International Day of Friendship, Lyn Rogers' story reminds us of the importance of understanding, compassion, and acceptance. It illustrates the transformative power of friendship, especially in the lives of those living with dementia. Dementia Alliance International continues to be a shining beacon, fostering a supportive environment that celebrates individuality and encourages meaningful connections.
On this day, we extend our warmest thanks to Lyn and all the members of DAI for sharing their stories and experiences, reminding us of the significance of true friendship in creating a more compassionate and inclusive world for everyone. Let us celebrate friendship and commit to supporting one another, no matter the challenges we may face, for together, we can make a difference. Happy International Day of Friendship! 🌐💙
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About DAI: Dementia Alliance International (DAI) is a non-profit group of people with dementia from around the world seeking to represent, support, and educate others living with the disease that it is possible to live more positively than advised with dementia. It is an organization that promotes a unified voice of strength, advocacy and support in the fight for individual autonomy, improved quality of life, and for the human and legal rights of all with dementia and their families.