A courageous daughter opens up about the family experience upon her father receiving a diagnosis of early-onset dementia, and how the “ripple effect” of speaking out can help make a difference in the lives of others. Brande Terashita tells her story of love, loss, and yes, even victorious JOY in sharing life with her father with dementia.
This is the first story I’ve shared from the perspective of a child experiencing a parent with dementia. Brande opens the deep, personal door on how it has impacted the relationship with her father and also how this diagnosis affected her family dynamics, as a whole. I’m not gonna lie. You may need a kleenex or two. But I am so grateful to Brande for being strong and tenacious in demonstrating how honesty can not only help others, but also be an important source of healing in this journey. I’ll share a little caveat here – Brande is the daughter of Bernie Travis – the founder of Early Onset Dementia Alberta Foundation – who we interviewed back in September of 2019 to showcase their fall conference. I’m sure today’s story will make Bernie even more proud of the advocates following in her footsteps.
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- Don’t be afraid to talk about this – a family member living with dementia – and you’ll find that suddenly your level of support drastically increases. You aren’t alone. Many people are experiencing dementia everywhere around the world. Finding peer support has been the biggest game changer for many people I’ve talked to in this space.
- The other thing I found really enlightening for friends and family members to hear was her tip of: don’t feel you have to visit alone. Remember that age old expression, “there are strength in numbers?” Well it certainly rings true here, and it’s a wonderful piece of advice if you’re struggling in a transition period, or overwhelmed trying to cope with this diagnosis in your immediate circle.
- And I’ll close with the final reminder that was shared at the top of our episode today – Speak up. Be bold. Open yourself. We need each other and you never know when YOUR story of personal experience might be the safety net for the next stranger, or friend you pass.
Thank you for joining us on Life With Dementia, the solution-driven podcast sharing personal stories, relevant research, and practical tips for living well with dementia.
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Podcast episode music by Blue Dot Sessions “OneEightFour”