Punctuation malfunction in my brain and my increasing fear of commas.

Originally posted on Before I forget...:

There are days when I notice my Alzheimer’s seems to be a bit worse and try to remember to record it for my Alzheimer’s Journey.

So, I will get an apology out the way first – sorry if my grammar and punctuation is all over the place but today my brain cells have gone on strike.

Cats woke us up extremely early at 6.30am – little darlings (smiling through clenched teeth :))) ), and I settled in my chair with my coffee to start reading a new book.

Right from the start I found I couldn’t understand the sentence because those pesky little tadpole commas seemed to be in the wrong place.  I read the first paragraph again slowly but it really did not make much difference.  As you know a comma in the incorrect place can put a totally different meaning on sentence but today for me, every comma…

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Namibia’s First Dementia Friendly Shop

Namibia’s First Dementia Friendly Shop

The 19th July 2014 is a historic day in the history of Alzheimer’s Dementia Namibia. Well, it started back in September 2013, but was only realized now.

During my visit with Michaela Fink at the University of Giessen, I was invited to meet Verena Roth. As Verena, with Prof Reimer Gronemeyer, is involved with Dementia Deutschland, it was only logical for me to meet her.

During my meeting with Verena, I learned quite a bit, but the most important concept that I picked up was not to create ‘dementia bubbles’ for people with dementia. What this entails is not to create a modern way of caring for people with dementia somewhere that is out of sight and out of mind from our daily ‘normal’ lives. She told me about dementia friendly societies where people with dementia are still part of their normal societies.

On the plane back to Namibia I had a lot to think about as the concept grew on me.

Upon my return to Namibia, the trustees and I of ADN decided to try to find one village or town in Namibia that would be willing to transform into a dementia friendly town and society. In one of the towns that we picked, a business woman suggested that we needed to transform the businesses into dementia friendly business as this would in turn create a dementia friendly town.

Since then I have visited six towns with ADN’s awareness outreach ‘program’ to help ordinary people understand people with dementia, the sickness and its effects on society as whole. At the end of my presentation, I always present a challenge to the attending people to transform their town into a dementia friendly place – a place where people with dementia can live a quality life despite having dementia.

The small coastal town of Henties Bay was the last town on my list for the first half of 2014. The majority of the people living in Henties Bay are elderly, retired white Africans. (One of the local pastors here mentioned to me that the average age of his congregation members is 75.)

As I drove to Henties Bay, there was an expectation in my heart that the people of Henties would be open to hear what I had to say. I was incredibly happy to arrive at a fully packed congregation hall. What really amazed me was the amount of younger people present – one of them the owner of Henties Bay SPAR (the biggest local super market?) Daleen Agenbach stayed behind after the meeting and asked me if I’d be willing to train her staff. She was one of many people in Namibia who had a family member with dementia and had to deal with her daily in the shop.

And on the 19th July I returned to Henties Bay and trained 35 SPAR staff members. Only three of the staff members with the owner, were white Africans. All the rest were black Africans – a nation riddled with superstitions and witchcraft.

As we live in Africa and witchcraft is the foundation of most African cultures, I decided to use bewitching as a synonym for dementia. Maybe it would help to make things more clear as someone who is ‘bewitched” displays the same signs (symptoms) as someone with dementia.

Henties Bay SPAR is the first business in Namibia committed to support any person with dementia that enters their shop. Hopefully the staff members, upon reco.gnizing someone with dementia in town, will be able to help and assist them, instead of being scared of them and fleeing from them. Maybe this is the start of spreading the word that people with dementia are not dangerous or bewitched.

In my training of the staff members, I have relied greatly on the following website: Dementia Friends (https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/) as their videos on the topic is truly both inspirational and relevant.

Henties Bay Spar Staff

Here today, Gone today


A story… from a person with dementia’s perspective….

Originally posted on play-grand :


I awaken to the light, the sun coming through the window. Happily drowsy, fresh from a good nights sleep, I celebrate morning. It’s morning, at last and I get to go sledding with my sister. Momma said we could last night as we watched the snow falling furiously like there’s no tomorrow.

“Mae, wake up” I whisper before turning towards her bed. “They have cancelled school and we get to go sledding,” I say, hardly able to contain my excitement. But, something is strangely different.  I do not see her bed. An unfamiliar armoire looms where her bed should be. I’m confused. How did her bed simply go away? Where did this ugly piece of furniture come from? Where did Mae’s bed go? Where did Mae go?

“Mae,” I yell. But there is still no answer. “Mae!”

It suddenly hits me.  “My God, this isn’t even our room,”  What is this…

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NightSide – Michael Curren and Dr. Rudy Tanzi Are Answering Questions On Alzheimer’s


Don’t miss this!

Originally posted on CBS Boston:

BOSTON (CBS) – Alzheimer’s disease affects over 5 million people in this country. Many people know someone diagnosed with this disease, and have seen the devastating effects firsthand. While Alzheimer’s has no cure, medical research has been making huge strides in our understanding of the disease, as well as what we can do to treat it. Michael Curren and Dr. Rudy Tanzi, both with the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, join NightSide to talk about what we know about Alzheimer’s, what can be done to treat it, and to answer any questions you may have about this terrible disease.

Origninally broadcast July 14th, 2014.

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Lifestyle choices can cut Alzheimer toll, says study


Our lifestyles may not seem important now when we think of our old age – that far far future that is inevitable. But somehow I think it might just be important to start thinking of the now to prepare myself for those days!

Originally posted on Peace and Freedom:

Volunteers from the 'Kissing it Better' charity read poems and recite songs on October 29 2013, to residents of a retirement home in Stratford upon Avon who have been diagnosed with dementiaVolunteers from the 'Kissing it Better' charity read poems and recite songs on October 29 2013, to residents of a retirement home in Stratford upon Avon who have been diagnosed with dementia

Volunteers from the ‘Kissing it Better’ charity read poems and recite songs on October 29 2013, to residents of a retirement home in Stratford upon Avon who have been diagnosed with dementiaVolunteers from the ‘Kissing it Better’ charity read poems and recite songs on October 29 2013, to residents of a retirement home in Stratford upon Avon who have been diagnosed with dementia

Millions of cases of Alzheimer’s could be prevented by altering lifestyle habits which increase risk of the tragic memory-robbing disease, scientists said on Monday.

Alzheimer’s is an age-related brain condition that experts suspect is influenced by both genes and the environment.

The population boom and longer lifespans mean that more than 106 million people will be living with Alzheimer?s by 2050 compared with 30 million in 2010, according to predictions.

The study, led by Carol Brayne, a professor of public health at at the University of Cambridge…

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It is the little things that count!

Originally posted on It's Easy to Forget:


After a morning at the salon.

It’s amazing how a little bit of pampering can go a long way in helping life seem just a bit more normal. While I’ve written about this topic before I think it deserves a “redo” as I was reminded again this morning of its importance to Mom’s overall wellbeing.

Mom was never a slave to fashion or trends but feeling stylish and pretty has always been important to her.  Pictures from her youth are certainly evidence that she liked to “make an effort” as they say.  I’m sure she probably turned more than a few heads in her time.  And I will forever remember her morning routine in the bathroom before heading out into the world or before going out for an evening with Dad. Let’s just say that it was a relatively lengthy process – I can still hear my Dad worrying that they wouldn’t get where they…

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Kaputu’s History

Kaputu’s History & Her Healing Process

The last time that I visited Opuwo, I met Uapindika, Kaputu’s sister. Uapindika told me stories about Kaputu’s childhood that would make good thrillers.

Kaputu’s father died when she was still very young and her mother then decided to move to Angola to her family. Kaputu’s grandmother decided that Kaputu was not allowed to move to Angola and kept her here on the Namibian side. Why she decided this, I really don’t understand as Uapindika says the grandmother never like Kaputu and she immediately tied her to a tree. Maybe it was because she needed help in the homestead and believed that Kaputu could be rid of the evil spirits that possessed her, who knows? But she took her to a witch doctor to do just that. No evil spirits emerged and on their way back to their kraal (homestead), Kaputu grabbed a rock and hit the grandmother on the head and tried to run away. Needless to say, this was a futile effort and Kaputu ended up being permanently tied to a tree.

A few years later her mother passed away and soon afterwards her grandmother also passed away. Whether this was fortunate or not, I also cannot quite decide as an uncle then decided to take Kaputu in. He basically tied her in the hut during the day and who knows what happened during the night as Kaputu soon became pregnant. During her second pregnancy, she conceived twins but neither survived. Her uncle then decided to contact Canagombe Hembinda to take her away. It is Canagombe who contacted me in November 2013 to come and see Kaputu just after the birth of her fourth child. (Another rape?)

Koos from Epupa Falls Lodge called me about a week ago, very excited. He had just returned from Mbakutuka Komapando (Our Himba Dementia Village) to off load a load of Makalani branches that we needed to use to cover the fence surrounding the village.  The reason for his excitement – while offloading he noticed Kaputu coming from the tent with a bath of water that they use to ‘shower’ in the mornings on her way to water the vegetable garden that we have planted. This is the same Kaputu who could not eat or drink by herself in the state hospital, let alone walk.

And yesterday, 22nd April 2014, Koos calls me again. This time he is even more excited than the previous week. During Koos’s last visit at Mbakutuka Komapando to offload the final batch of Makalani branches, Kaputu sits under the shade of an old Mopani tree and waves for him to come closer. Koos walks to Kaputu and she greets him with a strong voice and even stronger grip, smiling all the while. She then continues to eat her “pap en sous” (porridge with a meaty sauce). The same Kaputu who had to be force-fed in hospital.

UAPINDIKA & CORNELUIS (Translator & Witch Doctor)

Uapindika & Cornelius (Translator & Witch Doctor

It has been three weeks since Koos and I decided not to renew Kaputu’s prescription of psychotic medicine. Koos: “She is becoming human again, Berrie!” And how true are his words?!

Man With Alzheimer’s Proves That Even If The Mind Forgets, ‘The Heart Remembers’

We so often think that people with Alzheimer’s forget everything and that they forget us, their loved ones.

This post on the Huffington Post shows us that we might just be wrong…

Melvyn Amrine, of Little Rock, Ark., may not remember the details of his life since his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but he recently proved that his love for his wife transcends memory.

Melvyn was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease three years ago and since then it hasn’t been easy for his wife, Doris, CBS News reported. Melvyn at times doesn’t remember details like whether he proposed to his wife, or vice versa. However a recent holiday prompted Melvyn to remember the most important thing.

On the day before Mother’s Day, Melvyn went missing. Considering he normally requires assistance to do any walking, his family was alarmed and notified the police.

When police found Melvyn, he was 2 miles from his house and he was resolute in his goal, according to Fox 16. He was going to the store to buy flowers for his wife for Mother’s Day, just like he had done every year since they had their first child. Read More..




We believe…

… Every person has:


Alzheimer’s Dementia Namibia

  • The right to be free: Unchained might it be physical by chain, rope or cloth or chemical by drugs and sedatives.
  • The right not to be isolated for whatever reason
  • The right to do whatever you can still do and prefer to do
  • The right to live on your own as long as possible and it is safe for you.
  • The right to quality of life
  • The right to be heard and to hear
  • The right to be part of the community/ a family
  • The right to die in a dignified way

Brain Fitness: Can physical exercise really improve your memory?


We don’t train to just lose weight… physical training has a more returns than we invest…

Originally posted on FITips:


Short answer … Yes.  An article on my CNN phone app caught my attention yesterday. Titled, “It’s time to get your brain in shape”, it included a list of things you can do daily to keep your brain sharp. You won’t be surprised that one of them was physical exercise. Still, it’s easier to associate improved brain function with mental exercise and a healthy diet. How does physical exercise make a difference, even in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease? The CNN article states that, “exercise enhances the growth and survival of new neurons in the hippocampus – a region of the brain essential for long-term memory – which may be able to replace others that degenerate as a result of the disease.” So read that again … exercise can replace memory neurons that degenerate. So it’s not just preventative, it’s restorative!

For you science geeks interested in…

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