Roxanne Varey has dementia and has become an advocate for creating more opportunities for people with dementia in the workplace. Roxanne has written poetry to help her understand and express some of her inner experience.
After struggling with her speech and finding some of her regular tasks at work challenging, Roxanne went to see her doctor, thinking that she may have had a small stroke. She underwent numerous rigorous tests and at age 51 was diagnosed with frontal temporal dementia with primary progressive aphasia in what she describes as a very cold and blunt way by the neurologist. This lit a fire in her to begin advocating to media, MPs and care providers for greater education and compassion surrounding dementia and to help end the stigma that can often go along with it.
She talks about working while dealing with cognitive difficulties and how employers need to adapt responsibilities and policies to address this from a human rights standpoint; to recognize dementia as a health issue and not one of an employee’s performance.
Amidst her changing landscape, Roxanne says “one of the great blessings” that comes with dementia is finding joy in simple things and living in the moment.
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