Marguerite Keating, new member of the European Working Group of People with Dementia, introduces herself


My name is Marguerite Keating. l was working with adults with physical and intellectual disabilities for just over 20 years, when my colleagues pointed out that l had, on more than one occasion, been confused, due to a few incidents and that it may be helpful to seek medical advice. Nine months later, on St Valentine's day 2019, l was diagnosed with young onset dementia due to Alzheimer's disease! lt was suggested to me to stop working, give up driving and to get my affairs in order! That was a difficult day and l felt as though my life was ending, however, l didn't feel ill! l felt too YOUNG to be receiving this news. l'm not sure what came over me, but, after some tears and possibly the feeling of hopelessness, l became angry and decided that l would fight it with all l had. l combed through the information the consultant had given me and began to make contact: first, with the Alzheimer's helpline and then the local Dementia Advisor, who actually visited me in my home the following afternoon. She gave me great hope and explained all that was going on in our little county and guided me through all the information that l had no idea existed at the time. Within a very short time, l got involved in our local Memory Café. Since then, as part of the Irish Dementia Working Group, l have been involved in many projects, such as The Understand Together project, a research programme with university students, Dublin Rail Alzheimer’s awareness programme. I have also participated in conferences in London and Dublin, several radio and television specials on dementia, outlining subjects like inclusion and awareness. I have also designed and painted e-cards and Christmas cards to help raise money for The Alzheimer's Society of Ireland. Lately, l have spoken at three evening events for newly-diagnosed people and their carers. I now look forward to working with the European Working Group of People with Dementia!