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Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

Exhilarating

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Yesterday was my first in person presentation in over two years. Everything has been on line, and the on line component has worked, but it was always somehow felt like it lost impact, fell short, fell flat, not really sure how to explain it. There has been many excellent webinars, zoom meetings can be very productive, support groups via zoom can and do offer so much, so I am not wanting to say that on line things aren’t or cant have a positive impact, they most certainly do. Somehow conferences on line seemed like the impacts of those presenting was lost. There was no way to interact or connect with the presenters, no ability to have a discussion, the face to face connections., watching and seeing body language.

At the same time we have to be grateful that we live in a time that technology allowed us to do so much on line, to stay connected, but I think for many of us we are just really feeling like we want that face to face connection.

So yesterday, my first in person presentation, of course limited numbers, vaccine passports and masks, no one minded, no one cared, those pieces meant we could all feel good about interacting. I had said that I was hoping to change it up, instead of just presenting and speaking to make it more interactive, engaging. I also know that sometimes people sit back at don’t want to be the first to ask a question, so during my first few minutes, I posed a couple questions to them. It was a terrific way to get people engaged, and engage they did, my talking notes covered nine pages to fill the 30 minutes, the 30 minutes ended up almost a full hour.

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My nine pages of notes, never got past the second page, although I believe by the end we covered more than just my notes, and most importantly, people got to ask about the things that were important to them. It was such a wonderful experience, it renewed me, left me very inspired, reminded me of the importance of actually connecting with people not just talking to them or at them. Giving them space to have their voice heard, so they left feeling like they were actually cared about, that what they felt, what they thought mattered, hopefully it left them empowered and hopeful. It still gives me goose bumps this morning. If I had the ability I would do this community by community.

There is nothing more important than being able to leave and feel like you had a small piece of giving people a sense of hope, that they are not alone, that everything they are feeling is valid. As much as they said I inspired them, I think they were more of an inspiration to me. The level of engagement surprised me, reminded me of how important it is for us to share our experiences and our stories. So today with my heart full, I will be thinking about each and every one of those people, grateful for all they left me with, and hope as you go about your day you can find those things for which make your day rich and full.

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By WWW.Chrissy's Journey.com

I am an advocate for people with dementia in Canada and globally, having been diagnosed with younger onset dementia myself a few years ago.

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