John O’Doherty, a 61-year old man in Greater Manchester with vascular dementia, answers our questions.
What’s changed most since your diagnosis?
Sadly, following my diagnosis friends and acquaintances have diminished faster than my memories.
However, I have since made many new friends because of the work I do through Alzheimer’s Society and other organisations.
Many of these friends also live with dementia and can both relate to and identify with the difficulties I face.
What would you take to your desert island?
My dogs (and doggy bags). I spend a large part of my time alone and they bring me great company. More importantly, they see me for who I am and not the dementia I live with.
How has Alzheimer’s Society helped you?
The Society helped to restore my confidence and self-belief by allowing me to become involved in many different roles.
I have publicly spoken about dementia at many events, addressed a meeting at the House of Commons, and advise Manchester Airport on a continuous basis as to ensuring it meets the needs of people living with dementia throughout their passenger journey.
What song or tune sums up your life so far?
Welcome to my world. It’s a song from the 60s by Jim Reeves. A verse reads, ‘Welcome to my world, won’t you come on in?’ For me, it’s an invitation to people who have no understanding of dementia to experience what I have to.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
I would return to a kitchen in Manchester in 1972 and not light my first cigarette, therefore avoiding a habit that plagued me for decades.
What is your most treasured possession?
I live by the mantra, ‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is the present, that’s why it’s called a gift.’ Therefore, time is my most treasured possession.
Answer our questions
If you have dementia and would like to answer our questions for a future article, or you know someone who would, email us to let us know.