How can I have dementia and ever help anyone. President Ronald Reagan once said, "We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone". To me, that is a very powerful quote for any of us. For the person with dementia, I feel that when we are able to get outside of our disease and help others have a better understanding of what it is like to live with dementia, our quality of life will be increased, simply by helping others. I have found that I cannot focus on my disease; but, I must reach out to others and attempt to make a difference in their personal journey with dementia.
I feel that in many situations, our perspective has a lot to do with the outcomes in our life especially in or overall sense of well-being. I have a saying, "if you follow the money, many times you will find the problem". I think about 501 (c)(3) organizations that raise money under the auspices of research. Often when you look at their financial statements, you will find that they only give around four to seven percent of revenue for research. It would be interesting to look at IRS filings and see what the top two or three employees are making. Sometimes, I think organizations have a primary focus of raising money and then feel that they will be able to help others. I used to tell my pharmacy employees, "if you take care of our patients, you will have a job and you will mostly be given an increase in pay". For thirty-eight years, I drilled this into their heads. I was relentless. My philosophy is that if I take care of people, money will take care of itself. During thirty-eight years of owning my own pharmacy, this mindset served me well.
I have now formed a corporation, UNITED AGAINST DEMENTIA GEORGIA. Ultimately, I will seek my 501 (C)(3) tax exempt status. When I had my pharmacy, I wanted to start a 501 (c)(3) for indigent prescription care. Most likely, I will seek tax exempt status; but, I will not take money for my own personal use. I plan to start selling T-Shirts that are pertinent to dementia. Surplus revenue will be used to provide the indigent prescription care that I wanted to do when I had my pharmacy. Because of being a workaholic and caring for my wife, I was never able accomplish this .
We are ready to move forward with more memory cafes; and, guardian angel volunteers who will go into assisted living and memory care facilities to help residents skype with their loved ones. We already have four other memory cafes that will start shortly. We have five businesses that are ready to become dementia friendly businesses. I dream of my entire community becoming a dementia friendly community. We have already built a team and others are volunteering because they want to have an impact on dementia awareness. Statistic bear out that there are now thirty-six million people with dementia. Most likely by 2025, there will be approximately sixty-six million people with dementia. Astoundingly, projections for 2050 are approximately one-hundred-forty million. The cost burden is more than can be tolerated. We must accept the challenge and take action.
ASAP squared means to me, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, find ACCEPTANCE of the diagnosis, maintain equal or greater SOCIAL interaction, than was present at the time of diagnosis, develop an ATTITUDE that is positive and focuses on my two mantras, and find your purpose in life since your diagnosis. My two mantras are (1) Live life like never before, Live life to the fullest, and (2) I do not have time to die, I have too much to live for.
I believe when these thoughts are followed, someone will take a giant leap forward and begin living with their diagnosis of dementia better, and will have an improvement in their overall sense of well-being. For me, this path has worked, and has enabled me to live with LBD well. Individually, we can have a positive impact on many people, one person at a time. Collectively, we will see a better understanding for everyone that is affected by this diagnosis.
©2015 Robert Bowles
Robert Bowles, Jr.