Sometimes prioritising is easy.

Okay, tonight I have to say it………”QUEENSLANDER”.

Now, to understand that you’d have to live in Australia, and support Rugby League football.

Tonight was the first of three games between two Australian States, both of which think they have the better football teams, but most people know that New South Wales is mistaken.

Sometimes it gets a bit crazy the way Australians follow their sports and the sporting culture of the entire nation for ALL sports. But that’s a part of who we are.

Anyway the best team won: QUEENSLAND (yeah) – 11 ; NSW – 10. Truly you cannot believe how much stirring and banter will come from that. AND, we did it on their turf!

So that became the important thing for me tonight, while Glenys did me a HUGE favour typing up some notes for an Alzheimer’s Australia function in Melbourne tomorrow afternoon.

Yes, we’re in Melbourne to talk about a valued Program that supports people who are under the age of 65 years, when diagnosed with YOD. It provides Key Workers for the person living with Dementia, their Carers and families.

It’s an individualist program, confidential and for me life changing. It’s about having a consistent person who listens to my concerns, who I feel respects me and my wishes, and helps to guide me to planning better to live well at home, for longer. (or if the case may be, in a care facility.) My Key Worker Lynda, was also one of the only people who was aware of Glenys’ concerns and needs, because she listened and provided information that assisted Glenys.

Tonight my priority was football (as is the way in Australia), but tomorrow I’ll be back with my ‘advocacy hat’ on.

(queenslander) Ha ha.

A Night to Remember. A memory to keep.

I’ve just finished writing my speech for Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld)’s 10th Anniversary, Gala Dinner. It’s on this Friday night, 29th May 2015 at the Stamford Plaza, Brisbane. I feel honoured to have been asked to talk about ‘ Live Well with Dementia’.

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To buy a ticket go to: qld.fightdementia.org.au or phone: 0738958200

It was a bit daunting initially, and I’m still coming to terms with the fact that others are interested in listening to me about my diagnosis and how I’ve improved some aspects of my life, to live better than before, e.g. my diet, my attitude, and learning Spanish.

I’ll be talking for 10-15 minutes. That’s a lot of words to write about yourself!

I still write letters to the Editor of our local paper and get published about 90% of the time, but this is very different.

Sue Pieters-Hawke, Alzheimer’s Australia’s National Ambassador, is the special guest. Sue and her mum, Hazel Hawke wrote a book together, Hazel’s Journey. Sue has also written, Hazel: My Mother’s Story. Sadly, Hazel passed away in 2013 with Alzheimer’s Disease. Sue has become an advocate for Dementia reform.

I’m looking forward to this magnificent event.

The concept of neuroplasticity gives me HOPE!

Last night Glenys and I listened to Norman Doidge, at The Brisbane Powerhouse, in an interview with Paul Barclay from ABC radio’s RN program, Big Ideas. I’ll put a link up after it goes to air, if I can.

Doidge is already well known for his book, The Brain that Changes Itself, where he researches amazing case histories about neuroplasticity and brain changes that have improve the quality of the lives of those that have continually practiced numerous tasks.

At the book signing of

At the book signing of “The Brain’s Way of Healing” with Norman Doidge: at the Brisbane Powerhouse

In discussion with Paul Barclay, he told the audience about more amazing stories of people who had diagnoses of MS, Vision-impairment, Stroke, Parkinson’s, Autism, Dyslexia, brain injury, chronic pain management, etc, and he discussed the role of light therapy, music therapy, and using Feldenkrais, meditation and visualisation along with specific exercises and tasks.

In his new book, Doidge makes reference to a ground breaking study from Cardiff University (published December 2013), of 2235 men aged 45-59 years, over a 30 year period. By doing 4 or 5 of the activities, their risk of developing Dementia fell by 60%. (Refer page 95-98)

Now, isn’t that a good reason to start, or maybe just to increase what you may be already doing.

I’ve bought the book and I’m slowly reading it. Perhaps you can also buy it or ask your local library to stock it.

Having some strategies helps me handle certain situations.

Yesterday I had an interview with one of our local TV Stations, Channel 9. The story is about a study about to be conducted at QUT. I think it’s called the “Tomorrow Study”, and they are calling for participants aged 65-83 years, who do not have a cognitive impairment. Therefore, I won’t be eligible to be involved in the study.

They wanted to talk to someone though who has Younger Onset Dementia, and who already does many of the things that are beneficial to a healthy heart and brain.

Channel 9 asked me about my lifestyle and the efforts that I go to, to not only be involved in living, but also to hopefully slow down the process of my YOD, and to try to maintain good heart and brain health.

I am writing this today though, to express that even though I enjoy being involved to promote Living with Dementia; and my advocacy about the need for people who have Dementia to be the voice about what we need and require; and, that Younger Onset Dementia needs to have a different type of support for both the Carers and for those who are living with YOD (simply because of the implications due to their age) the talking etc tires my brain and slows the mental processes.

So a few strategies that I use are: to ask for a list of possible questions beforehand; to write up my responses to them on my laptop, and then print it off to be able to review; to have a bit of a rest or sleep in the hours prior to the time; to try to engage in another mental activity like Spanish or a crossword before the interview to take my mind off it; and to allow a quiet day to follow. This mentally prepares me for the interview and to function well afterwards.

I’ve had a few interviews for a number of different reasons over the past 6 months, with different media outlets including newspapers and I find this is the key for me.

PS. I’ll post a link to the Channel 9 story into my ‘Dementia Links’ page.

The Mighty Quinn

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“The Mighty Quinn” banner. My brother Garry had red curly hair, just like me.

Last Saturday, two of our grandchildren (Kalani and Eli) joined Glenys and I in the Cancer Council’s ‘Relay for Life’ at Gatton. It started at 3 pm Saturday and continued throughout the CHILLY night until

A Facebook friend asked,

A Facebook friend asked, “Is this what a ‘rough red’ looks like!!! …….. obviously drinks top quality wine ­čÖé

Sunday, 9 am. ┬áThis is the fourth year that I’ve joined in, although this year I had to be

Nearly ready to light the candle for 'HOPE'

Nearly ready to light the candle for ‘HOPE’

sensible and stayed in a nearby motel so that I could get some rest.

My dear brother Gary was diagnosed with Melanoma and fought a courageous battle. He was the sort of guy who made a difference to the lives of everyone that he met. He loved life, laughter and … well, laughter. Gary passed away in February 2013 at the age of 55. He was my best friend. RIP Gary.

This year, “The Mighty Quinn” team raised about $4000, thanks to the effort of Joan and her family and friends.

Garys biggest hope was that a cure would be found so that his grandchildren wouldn’t have to go through the same ordeal.

Change is good especially when it’s meaning….. changing the brain.

imageHave you read about neuroplasticity?

This is one of the best things to come from brain research! The realisation that the brain is NOT hard-wired…..that it is ‘plastic’ and changeable, is good news for many people, regardless of their medical condition.

Okay, I have Dementia, but does that mean that areas of the brain that I currently don’t use, but are not yet affected by Dementia, cannot be retrained or develop new connections? It looks like there needs to be ongoing research about this. In the end, what have I got to lose? “Give it a go”, I say.

Norman Doidge, reknown author of “The Brain that Changes Itself”, will be at the Brisbane Powerhouse, May 19th, 2015, to talk about his new book, “The Brain’s Way of Healing”.┬áHis books are translated into 10 different languages. He has popularise neuroscience. Glenys and I are going.

I’ve read his first book, and some of the case studies about real people, and about what people can achieve with brain training, are amazing. This is different to (but includes) just brain games, it is science. The fact that the brain is more resilient than previously thought and that Alzheimer’s Disease can be slowed down, is welcome news. Check out the recent figures forecast to 2050, for people living with Dementia and you’ll know how important that bit of news is!!!

Doidge is a Canadian psychiatrist who researched successful stories, and wrote about them. As I mentioned, they are amazing. Doidge adds that this is especially important given that currently there are no effective medications for Alzheimer’s. The medical profession is taking note of his work. He says, ” that we’re still quite far from a full understanding of how the brain works.”

Can you get along to his talk wherever you live? I’ll be at The Brisbane Powerhouse. Do you have access to a library to borrow his book? Or perhaps you can buy it. As I said earlier, “give it a go.”

Slow is the new fast! Be kind to yourself if it’s the best that you can do.

Glenys and I went to Perth Western Australia, for the Alzheimer’s Disease International 2015 Conference. (ADI). I’ll post more about the Conference soon.

Although we live on the east coast of Australia and Perth is on the west coast, it’s a five and a half flight. Perth is actually a different time zone to Brisbane (2hrs behind).

I’ve noticed since last August that flying even reasonably short distances knocks me around for ages afterwards. The longer the distance or the additional time zone difference can mean it can take more than 10 days to recover.

We returned 13 days ago yet I’m still not back to my usual exercise regime and I’m still more tired than usual. On a few days I’ve been back having a rest or a sleep as early as 9 am.

It’s hard to explain exactly what’s happening, except to say that I’m tired most of the time and my thinking is much slower.

I’m lucky to have the opportunity to rest up and pace the day.