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Tomaž Gržinič, member of the EWGPWD, gives lecture for students at Slovenian Faculty of Social Work

Wednesday 18 December 2019

On 18 December 2019, I, Tomaž Gržinič, Slovenian member of the European Working Group of People with Dementia (EWGPWD), gave a short lecture for students at the Faculty of Social Work, in Ljubljana.

I was invited to share my story about how my life has changed since my diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. I am pleased that my thoughts and positive attitude towards life was so well-received. I was told that I literally gave the attendees goose bumps! I try to always be open-minded and optimistic and to see the future in the brightest way possible. In my introduction, I told participants how I coped with the diagnosis and managed to reorganise my daily routine in order to live life to the fullest. I stressed that I nothing has made me happier than realising what great friends I have.

Even though orientation is still the biggest challenge, on an everyday basis I continue with my leisure time activities, just as I always have done – playing tennis, ping pong, editing magazines, hiking, painting, and gardening. Currently, I am more worried, due to changes in my medical therapy, but I remain passionate about all the things I love. I gave the students a take-home message that I believe we all should take into account: “Even with dementia life is still beautiful”.

I also told participants that I support all campaigns and awareness-raising events about dementia, but am convinced that timely diagnosis is not the only key to promote a healthy and active lifestyle with dementia. I think we should improve prevention techniques as well as improving screening tests to detect mild signs of dementia in preclinical stages. In conclusion, I said that the sooner we know what we are dealing with, the better the outcome would be. In the closing session, a few cognitive exercises were also done. The students were impressed and grateful to hear my story and to put a face to dementia. It was an honour to be invited.