Artwork    Kate Green Laughing Artist

Disclaimer: Although I am a research scientist, dementia is not my area of expertise. These blog posts reflect my own experiences and have been influenced heavily by what I have learned from colleagues, friends and family. Where appropriate I provide links and references to the professional literature on Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, as well as to organizations such as the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia.

POST 5 The dementia stigma

If you’ve visited the Cycle of Life blog before you will have seen the banner artwork from Scottish artist Kate Green. The colors are spectacular, aren’t they?

Take a closer look. Did you notice the tiny figures on the beach? When I wrote to Kate in Spring 2021 to ask for permission to use her painting, I told her that I’d imagined them to be my parents. Dad has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and they are apprehensive about what the coming months and years will bring. But they are also trying to stay positive. They have accepted the reality of the situation and are committed to finding silver linings whenever and wherever they present themselves.

Kate said that the marriage of light and dark had been a recurring theme of her work during the COVID-19 pandemic: “For me, it was the theme of lockdown.”

That’s the beauty of art. Same painting, different symbolism. I see Mum and Dad in Kate’s painting, but it could be anyone.

Read the full post...

POST 4 Every fifth house

“Here’s $10. It’s all the money I have in my wallet. But I’m working again tomorrow, so it’s no problem”.

It was late afternoon on Friday, July 9th, 2021. I was just over 30 kilometers Southwest of Halifax on a road I knew like the back of my hand. My parents-in- law were coming out to cheer me on for the run-in to Halifax, and I was looking forward to one final roadside stop amongst familiar faces.

What I was not expecting was staff from the St. Margaret’s Bay Hydroelectric Plant.

Read the full post...

GUEST POST 2 Reflections of a daughter

"The Cycle of Life – Ride for dementia event has provided opportune reflection time of the past seven years, since my father's Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. This piece is a complement to John’s and my mum, Clare’s blogs about dementia.

Certain events stand out as key milestones of life, often dovetailing with family events. Many of these, my dad can no longer remember."

Read the full post...

GUEST POST 1 Reflections of a caregiver

"I hope from my perspective as a carer for a number of years, there will be people who can take some comfort and encouragement from my personal journey caring for my husband Joel from 2014 until 2021 when he moved into long-term care."

Read the full post...

POST 3 For as long as I can remember…

Hello Daddy-o!

I’ve just come through the front door of my parents’ home and spotted my father in the living room. He’s cozied up in his favourite chair wearing a housecoat and slippers, watching television with my mother. They’re having evening tea and a cookie. It’s been a family tradition for as long as I can remember.

Dad sees me and smiles. He no longer knows that I am his son, but he definitely knows me. He recognizes my face and my voice – that much is clear.

Read the full post...

POST 2 Confessions of an amateur caregiver

Friday, February 26th, 2021. I will never forget it. It was the day my father moved into long-term care.

At 10:00 AM my mother and I got Dad into the car and drove the short distance to the facility. 20 minutes later, we ‘handed him off’ to the staff at the front door. They were kind and understanding and prepared to receive him. We weren’t allowed in the building. All we could do was say our goodbyes and assure Dad that he was in good hands, that we’d see him again soon.

Dad didn’t know what was happening. As we backed away, he looked at us with confusion; he was wondering where we were going.

Read the full post...

POST 1 The dementia journey

About ten years ago I received an unexpected phone call from my brother-in-law in Mexico. My parents were visiting my sister and her family, and he had a question.

Have you noticed anything different about your father?

Umm, no, why?

Well, he’s been asking the same questions over and over again. Your sister and I are a bit concerned”.

Read the full post...