Streamway Villa resident shares her story of living with early-onset Alzheimer’s PART 6

‘Sally’ hopes her words will raise awareness of the condition’s progression and how it impacts her life

Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Christina Doughty did a series of one-to-one programs this summer with a younger resident of the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home who has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

During these sessions, the resident, whom we will call Sally, dictated to Christina her thoughts on what living with cognitive impairment is like. Her words also illustrate how the condition’s progression impacts her life.

Sally’s goal is simple: she wants others to have a glimpse of what it is like to live with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and to understand how she feels about what she has lost and what fond memories she can recall.

“When we started doing this, she told me she wanted to raise awareness for anyone that is going through dementia or anyone who has a loved one that has dementia,” Christina says.

Sally also describes the empathy she has for new residents and how she understands their anxieties and fears.

This is the final chapter of Sally’s story:

Chapter 6

I am having a really good day. I am helping people.

Sometimes I get stuck in my own head and am unable to communicate effectively. Today’s not that day though. These pictures, there’s so many memories in my hands.

We all worked hard in this picture as there was so much to be done. An old friend is back in my life. He’s great. We laughed and laughed.

Afterwards, I realized this is exactly what I needed – I need this more. In fact, sometime LTC is such an awful place. Some people don’t know that they don’t know.

Some people don’t realize that they can have a life of communication and sharing your own individual story.

Click here to read Chapter 1 of Sally’s story
Click here to read Chapter 2 of Sally’s story
Click here to read Chapter 3 of Sally’s story
Click here to read Chapter 4 of Sally’s story
Click here to read Chapter 5 of Sally’s story