Living with dementia, by Nina Baláčková

For Day 12 of Dementia Awareness Month 2015, we are featuring Nina Baláčková from Czechoslovakia. Thank you Nina for sharing your story of living with dementia with our other members and supporters.

Nina Baláčková and Kate Swaffer at ADI Taipei 2013
Nina Baláčková and Kate Swaffer at ADI Taipei 2013

Nina writes: When I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2007 I fell into depression for several months. Thanks to antidepressants, support of my family, friends, strong will, and faith I started to train my memory, to attend exercise and English courses again.

Since that time I have got a new way of life.

Sometimes more difficult – for me and my family too, but still happy way.

I found that I need to manage my time very well. Sometimes my husband helps me. For example: I promised my daughter to take care of my granddaughter. But I didn’t write it into my diary. The next day some organisation invited me for the same day to speak about dementia. Fortunately, my husband heard it and told me that it was not possible that I had to be with Veronika…

So I divide time between our four grandchildren, raising awareness of dementia, Church activities, visiting relatives and friends. Sometimes we go to concert or exhibition. We are all the time very busy.

In 2009 I decided to be active in raising awareness of dementia. I started to offer discussions My life with Mr.Alzheimer. Later I took an interview for various magazines, cooperate with TV, radio named Before sunset. This documentary was prepared for three months. The reporter made it in our house in various situations – for example washing, cooking. He went with me to one old man with dementia who I was training. When I asked his wife for permission to include her husband into this documentary, she didn´t want it. Only when I promised her not to say his name, she agreed.

So, we can see that many people are too shy to speak about the dementia to their love ones.

The reporter and I wanted to bring closer life of people with dementia  to others. After this documentary on the radio, people were calling there and asking questions to me and my husband. This documentary won second place in competition The best  radio Czech document 2013.

I realize that dementia makes me more humble as I need more help from others, or speak up at first time about my dementia was hard for me. Believe me, that for many people it is not easy to ask others for help in various situations.

I had some strange psychological test recently. One of the questions was:

What positives has dementia brought you?

I was very surpised by this question. But later I found:
1. I have more time for our grandchildren who live in three different towns because I don’t work

2. I was able to see my mother in law every week. We were walking and training memory together as she had AD too. She passed away this year in her nineties.

3. I can share my knowledge and opinions with others which makes me useful and happy

I wish to close by this quote:

Time is not only a gift, but a big change too.

Author: Nina Baláčková  © 2015
Editor: Kate Swaffer