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Petri Lampinen, member of the EWGPWD, writes about rehabilitation and dementia in Finland

Tuesday 17 October 2017

My name is Petri and I was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) in 2015. This is a rare disorder - there are less than a thousand of us in Finland. Last year, I went to  the rehabilitation programme for people with disabilities organised by Kela (Finnish Social Insurance Institution). It wasn’t easy to get in. First,  the information that I received was not correct, as I was told people with dementia could not access this type of service and I could only benefit from adaptation training. I couldn’t believe this, so I decided to contact the Kela’s office myself. As it turned out, dementia  is a valid cause to access rehabilitation services although I had been told otherwise in the hospital. All I needed was a rehabilitation plan from my own doctor and then I could apply for it. I’m lucky to have a nice doctor who does things properly. He did the necessary paperwork. However, without my own initiative I couldn’t have participated in the rehabilitation and once again, it was clear that nobody comes and just offers you services like this. Finding everything out by myself was stressful, but on the other hand, it was good for my brain. I try to fix things myself as long as it’s still possible so that my wife can take care of other matters.

 I went to the rehabilitation open minded and got more than I expected. This year, many things have changed for the better. We focused on my ability to function and on developing helpful devices and strategies. I came up with an idea of checking lists and notes on a white board. In physiotherapy,  I learnt how to play badminton and table tennis and got hooked. Last summer, I bought a ping pong table and played ping long all summer. In the autumn, I booked a term in a sports hall of the City of Hämeenlinna and played badminton over the winter. Through playing, I keep up my movement/mobility skills and it has become a great activity for the whole family.  I feel like I have a life now and I’m happy to share my ideas and thoughts with others!