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Living with dementia in Finland – my experience, by Markku Parkkisenniemi, member of the EWGPWD

Friday 17 March 2017

I have been happy to join the Alzheimer Europe European Working Group of People with Dementia. The first meeting I attended with my wife Päivi was in Copenhagen last autumn and it strengthened my dedication to the cause. I see us, the members of EWGPWD, as musketeers working towards improvements in common European challenges facing people with dementia.

My personal experiences with dementia started when my wife noticed problems with my memory. I started to forget to turn the coffee maker off or take keys with me while going on errands. I got my diagnosis of Alzheimer’s at the beginning of 2016. It was the first time ever to hear the name of the disease and a great shock. Our reaction was to be as open as possible about my condition and to look online for more information.

However, around the time of my diagnosis, I faced also some physical illnesses. I am still, three years later, trying to figure out (with help from my doctors) what are the root causes to my symptoms of dementia. The process has been long and I have met several leading doctors in the Finnish field of Alzheimer’s.

One of the effects living with dementia has on me is that my sense of direction has deteriorated. Last autumn we moved to a new home, and I have found it difficult to get accustomed to the new environment. But luckily as long as I have a map with me I have been able to keep up daily jogging, my dear hobby.