What's in a Name?
When choosing a name for the Dementia Inclusive Program I considered a few choices before landing on ‘The Forget Me Knot Connection’. I chose to use knot because of its connection to the strategy used to remember that there is something to remember (the string tied around the finger). In my professional life assisting people who live with Dementia I am continuously developing strategies that will help fill the gaps that Dementia has caused in the person’s brain function. Whether it is using a particular verbal cue whilst performing tasks or pointing out particular landmarks on a walk, I try to find strategies that will help to empower the person living with dementia to be as independent as they are able on a particular day.
I also like ‘knot’ as it ties (pun intended) in with the idea of Tau tangles that are present in the most common disease that causes dementia, Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, I like ‘knot’ as it is a way to tie things together, thereby making a connection.
Making a Connection
‘Connection’ first came to mind because it made me think of my childhood love of ‘The Muppets’ and one of my favourite childhood songs “The Rainbow Connection”. This song brings up in me warm feelings of the idealistic view of the World that Kermit seems to have. This ‘core memory’, is the type of memory, often tied to music that can bring comfort and joy to a person living with dementia.
Connection is one of my main goals for ‘The Forget Me Knot Connection’. Social isolation and depression are one of the risk factors of developing dementia, so I aim to bring social connection to the participants of the program by creating an environment where people living with dementia and their carers feel confident, comfortable, and connected within the community. Therefore, this program is not just for people living with dementia, it is for everyone who has an interest in how to lower their risk of developing dementia, slow cognitive decline and create a dementia friendly community whilst having fun.
I want this program to bring hope to people who have resigned themselves to the belief that they are destined to develop dementia either because of genetic testing or having a relative who lives/ lived with dementia. I want people to know that there are ways to significantly lower the risk of developing dementia and to know that you can live well with dementia.
Dementia may be a life limiting illness but is certainly not a reason to give up living. By developing dementia friendly communities that support people living with dementia to live as independently and safely as possible, and by supporting their care partners, dementia does not need to be the fear inspiring monster that it has been made out to be.