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Petri Lampinen, member of the European Working Group of People with Dementia, manages to overcome the limitations imposed by COVID

Friday 11 June 2021

The past time has made my work as an expert by experience more difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled many events over the past year, at which I was supposed to go to talk about my experiences of having dementia. I had enough of the silence in the spring and decided to do everything I could, so I could be able to continue in my active role, taking part in these types of activities. I know that it's necessary for me, to function. I first made a self-made video, talking about me and the memory issues that have affected me. I sent it to a good friend, who is a memory professional. I'm glad he has used the video in memory nurse training. Immediately after that, I drafted an article for Alzheimer Europe’s Dementia in Europe magazine. My writing also attracted interest in the press in my homeland, where it will be published this autumn. I also asked the South Ostrobothnia Memory Association, in which I am involved, if they would have some tasks for me and I suggested that I could lecture online, talking about independent rehabilitation, memory disorder experiences, and relationships with a memory disorder. I was glad these all happened this spring. I gave many lectures and this put me back into gear for my activities, and it was no longer a reverse gear. The lectures will continue this autumn and I have agreed to participate in these. I also gave a remote reading to the students of Seinäjoki high-level gerontology class. This event provided good contact with the educational institution with which I will continue to work.

I was also invited to speak as part of a training for health care personnel, organised by the Hospital District of South Ostrobothnia. The main theme was memory disorder and a vulnerable older person at an on-call reception. A psychologist from the geriatric ward interviewed me at Seinäjoki Central Hospital. Some of the audience was in the auditorium and the other group listened remotely online. I felt like I was able to share my thoughts well. They were particularly interested in cognitive accessibility, which is one of my favorite subjects. My wife and I gave talks together, about memory disorders and relationships, at events in Kurikka and Alavus. The organisers were the Memory Society of South Ostrobothnia and the Family Carers' Organisations. These two events brought us a great deal. We were able to share a positive and open picture of living with a memory disorder. The Finnish Memory Association has made a video project with people with memory disorders and their loved ones. Filming has often been postponed due to this pandemic. My wife Nina and I are a part of this project. With the precise design, we were able to complete the filming. As far as we are concerned, the filming was done safely at my parents' summer house in Hämeenlinna and Nina and I were happy to be invited to join this project. Now I'm sitting, taking a well-deserved rest in my garden swing, listening to birds singing and enjoying the green summer. I am grateful to everyone who has supported me and my wife during the spring.