Keith Oliver was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's at the age of 55. Formerly a Headteacher of a primary school, Keith worked in teaching for over thirty years.
He is now also teaching many people about how to live positively with dementia, and works to raise awareness of the symptoms. Keith Oliver has also written many books on his experience with dementia to hopefully help people with their own journey.
Keith speaks to us openly about his experience with dementia, leaving his much loved job and how he has managed to look at the silver lining of any challenges that he comes across.
"I maintain my independence by focusing on what I can do, I am not great on my own but I know that is not possible all the time so I take part in hobbies likes puzzles and art."
"To find calm, I read and watch light television which essentially is nothing challenging and gives me a moment of escapism. Spending time with people keeps me relaxed."
"I am very active, some people say too active! It is really important for my cognitive health."
"I think connecting with younger adults brings me a lot of joy, along with writing. I hope that I can inspire them, make them think and challenge people's way of thinking. I really like to spend time with my friends and family."
"I invest time, energy and love into my relationships along with respect which is always earned. This advice can be for anyone not just people living with dementia."
"I find achievement through the feedback of others, I do not seek praise from others but I am now learning to accept it from others."
"It is possible to keep learning, I had not painted or taken part in art since I was a child and now I really enjoy it!"
Keeping a Sense of Identity
"I try to keep my sense of identity by teaching as that was at the core of who I was when I was working and who I have always been to some extent, since I was a child."
“What is good for someone with dementia is good for anyone. Just because they have dementia it doesn't make them any different than another human being.”
Taking part in activities is a great way of staying independent, whether that is art or something else that you enjoy it can enable you to think in a different way.
You can find joy through celebrating your achievements and your friends’ achievements.
Watching light television that is not challenging, can give you a moment of escapism and can be relaxing. There are also schemes where people will go for a walk with you, and you can chat on the way.
Invest time, energy, respect, and love into your relationships.
Accept praise from others as it will help you to move forward, in day-to-day life.
You can learn new hobbies or new activities, there might be areas that you might struggle with, but ask for help.
Keep doing what you did before your diagnosis, whether that ties in with what you did for your job or hobbies.
Staying active is not only great for your physical wellbeing but also your mental health.