Chris Norris at the age of 58 was diagnosed with Fronto-temporal Dementia (FTD). Due to his diagnosis he was no longer able to work as a driving examiner as he struggled to remember his routes.
Chris shares his journey with dementia and how he has created coping strategies for the things that he is no longer able to do. “Dementia comes in CANS. You have to focus on what you CAN do”. Chris says.
His favourite quote is from Winston Churchill, “Never, Never, Never give up!”
"I like to be independent but I want to be working alongside my wife with this, we depend on each other."
"Music is a great calming tool. I would advise people to keep their hobbies going, things they enjoyed before they got their diagnosis. Many people think they have to give up everything but you don't, you just need to ask for help."
"I keep myself busy, which is why I have never really taken to fishing! I live for today and I have planned for the future, with my will and power of attorney. Living for today and helping people brings me the most joy!"
"I am not as active as I should be, but I do keep myself active around the house there are different ways that you can stay active."
"Relationships can be very difficult. As my dementia progresses the layer that stops me from saying something inappropriate disappears. Now I have to take a moment to think about what I am going to say."
Keeping a Sense of Identity
"Keeping your identity is very important, when you meet someone new they usually ask what you do for a job but that goes with dementia so it is important to still do things that are important to you."
"I have taken part in many Red Letter Days, going on Segways, helicopter flights, tank driving day, going on safari and much more! There is still so much you can explore and learn!"
“Life does not stop with a diagnosis, you are still you! Live for today and live the best way that you can.”
Working alongside someone will help you to keep your independence, try not to resist help.
Living for today and getting all your affairs in order such as your power of attorney etc can really help you to focus on the present.
Music is a great form of relaxation and try to keep your hobbies going after diagnosis.
Listening and thinking about your response will be essential for keeping your relationships strong as dementia progresses. The filter starts to disappear so thinking about your response is important.
Keep taking part in new experiences, it is possible!
It is important to notice what you are still able to do, you can do those things for as long as there are safety mechanisms in place.