‘I’m still human’

By Paul Lea

Paul Lea

Looking at me, you would never know I have dementia. I’m 63 years old, I live alone, and I enjoy a lot of the same activities I enjoyed before my diagnosis. I’m still human and I can still do things.

But it’s true – I was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2008 after I had a massive stroke. Afterwards, I did everything possible to simplify my life. For example, I rearranged my apartment so I know where everything is. Sometimes, though, the remote control could be right in front of me but it may take me a few minutes to recognize it.

I live alone, but I get a lot of love and support from my family and friends. This is really important for anyone living with dementia. In my case, their understanding has helped me to get on with my life.

I used to be a whiz with computers but now ask my daughter for help if I’m having trouble. I used to be a great cook, too, and still enjoy cooking, but prefer to keep meals simple.

Another thing I really enjoy is writing. In 2012, four years after my diagnosis, I published a book about my experiences as a missionary in Haiti. To write my book, I learned how to use voice recognition software to help me with my spelling and grammar.

See, life continues. I know my dementia will get worse with mini strokes, but I’m lucky to be alive. I’m still here. Dementia isn’t going to stop me from living life to the fullest.

Life doesn't end when Alzheimer's begins. Learn how to be there for those who are #StillHere ►