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Women with dementia need to be heard

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Agnes HoustonAs a wife and mother I had many roles and challenges. I was an organiser and a caregiver, a nurse and carer for my parents – so when I got dementia it was just another challenge. The next role I had to take on was as a person with dementia.

My life skills as a woman have helped me to cope with having dementia. I have been able to deliberately engage with dementia – and so the next role I have taken on is as a dementia campaigner.

I feel women have a lot to offer other women: to get them through the diagnosis and the bad times and to help them to find their voice as women with dementia.

When I am distressed the support I get from my virtual friends with dementia gets me through. Even at two in the morning there's always someone out there awake in my virtual community.

Out of this group a separate group of women with dementia is evolving naturally. It became evident that we need a special 'safe' environment to talk about personal female issues. There are some things that men just don't want to be involved with!

But sometimes I feel that the needs of women can be stereotyped. I think it's important that women make it clear what makes us feel feminine and happy being women. And all women should be encouraged to write down what they want, for example, in care plans and statements about future care. If we're not careful being a women will be always about make-up! I don't wear make-up! But I love my perfume. My perfume is my secret weapon – it gives me confidence. Clothes too are important – different clothes make you feel different and give a different perception of you to others.

So women with dementia need to be heard – both on the campaigning stages but also in their own care. We have gone through a lot in our lives and deserve to be listened to now.

Agnes Houston, Scottish Dementia Working Group and member of the project advisory group for the Women and Dementia project.

Tags: women with dementia Written 2014-10-31

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