Tag Archives: growing old

I am an anarchist!

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As many of my readers know, I am employed with the Alzheimer`s Society as a Dementia Support kind of a person and as such, I get to visit lots of the various workshops we put on for our service users and their carers. One of the more popular ones is called “Singing for the Brain.” The local group near where I work in Solihull often entertains as many as fifty people and the facilitator arrives with his guitar and strums us through about an hour`s worth of songs from the mid nineteen hundreds upwards, through the century. We still sing It`s a Long Way to Tipperary” and “Roll Out the Barrel” occasionally interspersed with “Yellow Submarine, Rhinestone Cowboy and When I`m 64.”  Songs of their eras.  Everyone is linked together by bunting, which is passed around the circle as our strummer sings hello to each participant by their first name. It`s a really successful, sociable occasion and it helps people to feel they are still part of their community, even if they are quite far along the path of dementia.

I was pondering, how will the Singing for the Brain groups change and adapt as we move further into the 21st Century?

I find it hard to imagine a whole group of OAP`s singing “Smack my Bitch Up” or “Anarchy in the UK,” but it is a possibility. Personally I shall be singing, “Georgia On My Mind, California and whole mix of Sarah Bareilles, especially “Gravity,” which I love.

What will you be singing if you develop dementia?

Globally, dementia is one of the world`s biggest killers and we currently have 850,000 people diagnosed in the UK. It is so prevalent that many people think it is a natural part of ageing but it isn`t. It is a disease that kills the brain and it can be a devastating illness, which is why groups like Singing for the Brain are so important in making life more bearable for people with dementia, their families and carers. It is still possible to have a life when you are diagnosed with dementia.

On the 21st of September, it is World Dementia Day. You can help by ringing your local branch of Alzheimer`s Society which is present all over the globe, and becoming a Dementia Friend.

Together we can and we will, create a world without dementia. The number to ring if you are in the UK is:

0300 222 1122

It`s free.

 

 

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On being sixty one…..

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I hit my sixties nearly two years ago and unlike previous decades, the best of which was definitely my fifties, I am really beginning to feel my age and I am becoming increasingly aware of my mortality as in, “shit – only another twenty odd years left, where the hell did that go?”

My body is falling apart – the proverbial has finally hit the fan.

When I get up in the mornings, my ankles hurt, my knees hurt, my hips hurt and until I get going I struggle down my steep stairs to the kitchen feeling more like I am ninety five never mind sixty one. Ibuprofen has become my BFF still – at least my friends have stopped telling me I`m a hypochondriac. When I walk my dog, my back hurts. Thank God for park benches.

A friend I hadn`t seen for a long time recently asked me how I was. I said, “Well – apart from the high blood pressure, arthritis, cataract, increasing deafness, tinnitus, carpel tunnel syndrome and a tendency to store water in my body which eventually results in my feet looking like cartoon feet, I`m bloody great thanks, how are you?”

My age has defined me by the changes I have made to my choices. I no longer feel the urge to break the speed limit when I am driving, I don`t hang out of the car window anymore and shout, “you stupid wanker!” to stranger drivers who have cut me up. Having been single for two years I find to my surprise that I can actually survive reasonably happily without sex in my life, something I never would have accepted even a few years ago. (I can live without sex but not without my Kindle, ha ha ha.)

Now it doesn`t bother me so much that I remain overweight and I buy clothes and shoes that are comfortable rather than fashionable. I don`t care if my lumps and bumps show. Hey – that`s me you`re looking at.

I do a lot of word searching, I say things like, “you know, thingummybob, what`sisface, oh it`s on the tip of my tongue, if I don`t think about it it`ll drop into my mind….. ”

I suppose there are some benefits to being in my sixties, for example, I can invite my friends round for a dinner party and I don`t have to knock on my neighbours` door and say, “we`ll be turning the music down at twelve.” I can say “no thanks” to invites and events that I don`t wish to attend and when anyone asks me why I can say, “because I don`t want to go. I`m getting old!” Hah!

My daughter recently brought it home to me that I am in my sixties when she sent me a text at 9:30pm which read, “mum are you still up?”

Party on.