What helps…

What helps us?

I am a Radio 4 and BBC World Service addict. I use my radio as a therapeutic intervention.Without the radio my brain invariably wakes me in the small hours to mockingly taunt and tease me with a long list of all the things that it has suddenly decided to remember. I view this as a positive development but it is both rather irksome and completely exhausting. I think that what my brain is trying to do is to sort of re-route and repair neural networks that have been damaged.

With the radio as my more or less constant companion at night I find that the continuous input has the effect of overloading me and stunning my brain into submission. It seems that the overload gives those grey cells too much to process and then, eventually, I fall into a blissful sleep. However, in my waking hours I am actively provoking my brain to exploit the ability to repair, renew and relearn by trying to bring that enormous cognitive reserve which we all have under my conscious control and direction.

It works sometimes. I have now made it a habit of continuously learning new things and to re-learn old things. My objective, and of course it may be an unrealistic one, is to try and slow the progression of my dementia symptoms and to arrest the cognitive decline.


Things that I find helpful are: talking to myself and instructing myself in the things I am attempting; I also sing out loud as often as I can; I have enrolled as a residential student at Ruskin College in Oxford (I previously studied for the Newbattle Arts and Social Sciences Award at Newbattle Abbey College in Dalkeith); I have successfully applied to get my drivers licence back; I have also applied to have my motorcycle licence; I have been re-learning how to cook; I seek out opportunities to practice languages that I learned years ago; I download audio books and a I subscribe to an audio library, and, I also spent a year studying European Law and Human Rights.

 Larry Gardiner