Chris on adapting to his new life

After my diagnosis, I soon stopped driving and also riding my beloved motorcycle.  I surrendered my license voluntarily because I knew I was struggling.  I was becoming a danger to others as well as myself.  I just wasn't taking as much care, my reactions were slower, I couldn't multi-task such as looking ahead and left and right.  Too many decisions cause me sensory overload.

It eventually led to me not being able to even leave the house on my own as I struggle to cross roads now and with the emphysema, become a recluse in the winter months.  But up and onward - I've always been a practical man and I wasn't going to let it stop me now!  

I never set goals; I just try and do the best I can, always.  I try to adapt, I don't sit around.  I try to keep busy and more important, keep my brain busy.  I look at my brain like a laptop battery - if you don't use it much the battery soon starts to lose its charge, but if you use it as much as you can it's always getting topped up.  But it will lose a bit of its max charge and get slower.  Stress and tiredness are not good either so we try to make life as stress-free as we can.  I rest before a busy day.  We compensate and adapt.

My motorcycle fabrication business has long gone.  Jayne doesn't do as much with her own business anymore as she is running our property rental business mostly on her own nowadays.   I can't use a tape measure let alone work on someone’s house.  We concentrate on what I can do, what I know about.  I'm 52 years young - I've time on my hands now - hopefully!  So I keep as busy as I can without getting drained.

Chris Roberts is in his early 50s and has been diagnosed with young onset vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease.  He lives in Wales and writes a blog called Dementia Survivor.  He regularly speaks at events to raise awareness of living with dementia.  Chris has also written for our website about his diagnosis, his voluntary work and about the first young onset dementia meeting he attended.  Chris and Jayne were filmed for BBC Panorama, you can watch the programme here

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