Dementia Is Not a Death Sentence

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 06 November 2012

“I have dementia. I also have a life,” says Peter Dunlop in a short YouTube video from the Alzheimer’s Society.

His message couldn’t be clearer, and it’s a necessary wake-up call for the many of us who fail to view an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis as anything more than a death sentence.

Of course life changes after such a heart-breaking diagnosis, but with encouragement and support from friends and family, plenty of opportunities for social engagement, a healthy diet, exercise, and the continued pursuit of enjoyable activities and hobbies (even if they must be amended), a person with dementia can and should have a full life indeed.

Whether the individual resides at home alone or with a caregiver, in assisted living, or in a nursing home, life goes on — and so will the memory loss and decline. Given this reality, that person needs consistency, routine and the comforting presence of familiar people even when names escape him. The worst thing to do is abandon your loved one in this time of need.

Listen to Dunlop’s message here:



There are 2 Comments about this post

  1. Sarah Foster says,

    It is very unfortunate when someone we love is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, but as you said, it is not a death sentence for them. Our loved ones diagnosed with these diseases still have plenty of life to live and should be encouraged to do so. If diagnosed early enough in the disease there are several medications and treatments that have been developed and are continuing to emerge that can help slow down the progress significantly. Not abandoning your loved ones just because they do not immediately know your name is also key. In addition, encouraging your loved ones to start developing a daily routine and “tricks-of-the-trade” [i.e. notes, placing regularly used items in the same place, labeling cabinets-drawers-etc] (so daily tasks can continue to be familiar years down the road) are good things to keep in mind too.


    on 08 November 2012 / 7:40 AM

  2. Sarah, thank you for your comments. You are absolutely right on all points; early diagnosis is helpful, and they still have plenty of life to live despite their disease. I also agree that the encouragement of a daily routine is a point-on tip that offers meaning and value to their lives. Thanks for sharing and for stopping by the blog!


    on 08 November 2012 / 12:31 PM


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