Tag Archives: Valerie Schache

Welcome to Brain Health Awareness Month

Hello! We are already seven days into Brain Health Awareness Month, and have not yet posted anything about it! Oops!

So, to kickstart this theme, we are sharing an update from a senior leader and member of DAI, Valerie Schache, who recently took over hosting the twice monthly Brain Health Meetigns we hold as part of our Brain Health Hub.

Val writes:

Brain Health Hub is a very special arm of Dementia Alliance International. It came about when a number of enthusiastic people kept on talking about the benefits of the Bredesen type protocol.  It was then suggested we start our own group, which still meets fortnightly on a Tuesday morning for me in Australia.

I’ve contributed to the hub from the beginning  and continue to be passionate about the latest  research /science-based evidence but also people’s testimonials on what has changed their dementia journey. Most has been for the better but if an action hasn’t been wise or helpful re health or supplements;  that is also discussed.  The strength of the group is that no question can’t be asked.

In line with DAI principles, medical advice is not given but suggestions are made to discuss with your relevant health professional if this advice is suitable for you.

I’m Valerie Schache now 69- I’m called Val and I was diagnosed in 2015 as a  Young Onset Dementia. I have a mixed dementia and keep confounding experts as like many in the Brain Health Hub we have reversed some dementia symptoms, stabilised others and keep chasing  improvement.  I prefer  the guidance of Functional Integrated Medicine – aka a multi modal holistic approach of precision medicine.

My background – I grew up on a farm is South Australia and pioneered many things in farming and my 32 years in my physiotherapy profession. The most notable is to be the first acupuncturist physiotherapist in public health in all of Australia in 1989. TCM Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture helps  staying well with health  co- morbidities including dementia. I was a rural/ remote physio until moving to Ballina NSW  in 1987 and practiced till 2005.

Dementia deficits have not affected my considerable physiotherapy and acupuncture knowledge.  I can still read a scientific paper of any genre and give back six points in plain speak depending on my audience.  I have taken courses at our local University to distinguish fake science from credible research and findings.

I’m passionate about making a better way for people being diagnosed with MCI or dementia to be able to have a future and a hope. I didn’t laugh until I found DAI zoom support groups in 2016.

Being part of Brain Health Hub had allowed me to continue to   be a community educator for best practice and outcomes. It has given me great joy to see the likes of co- founder Maria Turner Paula Wolfert and Chrissy Theilker helped.  Bill Yeates is a fellow Aussie scientist  with insights and scientific approach.

I’m honoured to host the  DAI Brain Health Hub group. We welcome new people to come and join as they are able.  No questions can not be asked. I’ve found deep friendships develop over the time as we share triumphs and sorrows.  We have each other’s back and kindness covers all we do.

Meeting formats sometimes include a theme or specific topic, a video or a guest speaker.   The group is driven by the members ideas, themes, suggestions and most importantly, their needs.

Everyone is welcome!

People with and without dementia can join these meetings, whether you are supporting your own brain health, looking after someone with dementia, or simply interested in it. Please contact  us here to receive the emails with dates and login details.

Thanks Val!

#Hello, my name is Valerie Schache

Special thanks to DAI member, Valerie Schache for saying #Hello today, the continuing blog series we are publishing for Dementia Awareness Month/World Alzheimers Month. #WAM2019

Image source: Valerie Schache

Hello my name is Valerie Schache (Val). I’m 67 and I live near Ballina NSW Australia. I have dementia and I continue as the long term care partner for my husband with complex needs since 2004 . I was diagnosed August 2015 when I was 63. I was not supported, just given a dementia drug and ‘bye’. I’m still not tagged; I don’t fit the requirements for NeuRa Frontier etc and am left to my own devices to find a way through the minefield of deficits.

My paid skills were as acupuncturist physiotherapist including complex pain in de-mentia aged care. I’m also a life time farmer. I thank my country upbringing and wise parents who included me in ‘Why is this so’ type of discoveries. I have massive cognitive reserves to cope with the diverse defi-cits says my neuropsychologist assessors. We pioneered in farming and I in allied health and I now pioneer best health practices in the dementia space. 

I Thank God for DAI [Dementia Alliance International]. I was unravelling – not supported – not being believed; stigmatized and isolated to near oblivion and self harm.

My first DAI zoom in 2016, with a mob of diverse people globally with dementia—I laughed for the first time post diagnosis as I participated; I didn’t have to pretend in this group. I was encouraged to seek the latest ideas and I improved cognitively with the Bredesen type protocol. I then got angry that the ‘establishment’ weren’t right, that nothing could change a dementia journey. I became motivated enough to give back and educate for inclusion of my dementia disability—my human right; for suitable rehabilitation to keep me well and kindness. I have pre-sented globally nationally and now locally. Facebook has been my ‘work’ pre-dementia so I now also have an active group ‘Val’s journey –dementia is a word not a sentence’ and comment often on other sites. I am gifted at reading research papers and gleaning the nuggets of change for the better from diverse sources. 

Advantages of dementia: yes, there are some.

I’ve found who my handful of friends really are. My personality type changing deficits means I’m now stronger minded. opinionated; my language is colorful, pithy and sometimes to the point. My ‘bull-shit’ meter is accentuated and I certainly won’t be patronised or treated as less because I have a neurodegenerative disease. I tackle things from the front foot.

Yes I can only now do one thing at a time– but then so do most men. Passionate, fearless bold as a hyena I help tackle issues especially if injustice is involved. I can still read a scientific paper of any genre and give you back six points in plain speak to any audience. My considerable savant knowledge is exposed and I’m well read. 

Disadvantages of dementia: yes!

In my ‘bestment’s’ words ‘It’s a pain in the ‘butt’ —I want my old Val back’ – it wont happen this side of eternity but I’m committed to her and we support each other and its ongoing. We are a great team. I struggle to be OK with the flamboyant new me. I have constant grief as I have brain ‘rat gnaws’ and I wonder what’s gone this time and can I get around it!

I hate having disturbed bodily functions; to always be reminded to remember what I need to take especially if I am distracted. I hate needing to pace myself, and accepting increasing support from others.

To be told ‘you don’t look like you have dementia’ – deep breathe Val– that is such an insulting reflex comment—one you would not say to someone with diabetes etc.

I have a DNR bracelet and all our legal affairs are in order so I don’t have to think about that part of the future except with joy at going home. 

I know dementia’s for over fifty years, observation and then worked as an acupuncturist physio for 32 yrs; a decade in a locked dementia ward and since 2005 have supported dozens of friends to die with dementia. But I say dementia should be rare—not an epidemic. 

What’s changed since the 1950’s?

Lets consider plastics, diesel fumes, atomic bombs, margarines and cholesterol issues/reduction and less sleep /increased stress and now obesity. It’s onset can be slowed even preventable with diet, BP/ Weight control. I say ‘If great grandma wont recognize it , its not food’ e.g. margarines. Hundreds of us in dozens of countries are creating a quiet revolution of change- confounding the ‘experts’ by reversing /slowing dementia– bringing hope to those able to follow a personalized precise protocol.

Back to basics of having health gut biomes for a healthy brain. Removing allergens including foods and environmental toxins especially mold. Team Val use hair analysis blood tests supplements and other hands on best practice to improve me holistically. Being mindful, stress controlled, sleeping soundly, very kind to yourself and at peace with those around you. Live in the moment as it is your pre-sent. I have hope, I have significantly improved in many markers since 2015 and I have dementia. 

Final words…

Its not the future I would have chosen, but we are making the best of this deal and giving back . We laugh and love freely. I aim to ease the life of all the other thousands pre and post dementia diagnosed. I’ve always smashed ‘glass ceilings’ so I’m breaking down the myths /assumptions about de-mentia, boldly and in every avenue presented to, or created by me. 

Don’t be like dementia, it doesn’t discriminate, it is a disability, and it is unkind. Be aware not to discriminate, be inclusive and be especially kind to all, and do everything to slow or prevent the onset of dementia for your own sake. 

Valerie Schache © 2019

Please help us support more people with dementia to share their stories and live more positively by donating or partnering with Dementia Alliance International.