So often when people hear the word ‘dementia’ they think of the end stages and when diagnosed with Young Onset so many people fall into a state of despair, believing it to be the end. But often that’s due to societies attitude, due to the stigma associated with dementia. Imagine if that was you being given a diagnosis? What would you think?

That’s what I though back in July 2014 because no one told me any different. I was given a handshake, a sad look and discharged by the consultant who diagnosed me. No words of encouragement, no support in how to adapt. For a while I thought it was the end.

But once me and my daughters got our heads around the diagnosis, I wasn’t prepared to accept it was the end. There’s always a way to overcome the problems we face.

People forget there’s a beginning, there’s a middle with so many adventures still to be had. I was determined to continue having adventures no matter what others thought.

I realised a diagnosis was simply the start of a different life, a life of adapting and continually adapting as dementia throws more challenges your way. I think of it as playing a game where I’m trying to stay one step ahead of dementia, trying to outwit it at every turn. What’s the alternative? To sit and allow dementia to win?

I found a passion for research – clinical, social and technological. After all, how can we change the future if those of us living with dementia now, don’t test new drugs and new theories on how best to live?

I also found the best support in the community was Peer support. Support from those who are living through the same experience. No one judges you, no one corrects you. We share stories, we share ideas and we support one another.

So what would my advice be to someone newly diagnosed?

Yes, it’s a bummer of a diagnosis but don’t dwell on the losses. Don’t dwell on the future as you have no control over either. Instead concentrate on what you CAN do and enjoy today and if today is a bad day, maybe tomorrow will be better.