‘Dancing vs dementia’ – taking steps to live well with mixed dementia

Graham Bond in Kidwelly, aged 74, shares what he’s doing to live as well as possible with mixed dementia.

Read this story in Welsh

I have difficulty holding information. I’ve just been reading Dementia together magazine, but it goes right through.

In the garden, I’ll find a spade the next day, where I’ve half done a job and left it. 

I know for a fact that I was there for two of my children’s births, but it’s just gone completely. I just seem to have a gap, which annoys me.

Graham Bond

No respite 

I live with Barry, who is my unpaid carer. Luckily, he was there when I was diagnosed, otherwise I’d have gone to pieces. 

I’ve had to stop cooking and they’ve also taken my driving licence off me, so Barry takes me everywhere.

He’s very happy to do it all, but I feel bad about relying on him so much as he doesn’t get any respite. But I’m helpless without him. 

I really feel for these people who have dementia on their own – that must be a real nightmare. 

I’m fighting the dementia, but I do worry about getting worse and how Barry would cope. When I went into hospital, I saw people further down the line. I dread that, to be honest, and the pressure it will put on Barry.

Giving back 

When I was diagnosed, Alzheimer’s Society were amazing. They helped me with power of attorney, and even helped book a train for my holiday. 

They also put me in touch with a volunteer called Gary – he’s brilliant, a lovely man. We exchange information and texts about gardening. We had phone calls during COVID but can now meet face to face. 

I also did some talks for people thinking about leaving something in their will, speaking about how Alzheimer’s Society has helped me. I’d never spoken on a stage before, but I loved it! If I can do anything at all to give something back, I will. 

I go to the weekly Elevenses group in Llanelli, run by People Speak Up, where you can chat about any problems. We’ve also been going to a group called Ty-Golau every week for probably a year. It’s run by an amazing lady called Jan and her lovely gang of volunteers. It’s very helpful and we love attending. 

Dance and gardening 

Line dancing keeps me going – I love it! Because I have to remember the steps, I’m sure that’s what’s keeping my brain going. I call it dancing vs dementia.

Even when I’m at home, I put the dances on YouTube and have a practice in the living room. I could dance all night! 

My other passion is gardening. It’s great therapy and all my problems disappear when I’m in the garden. 

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Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
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