A few weeks ago, I did a week of “prao” at my mom’s office. “Prao” means internship for Swedish middle- and high-school students. My mom and her boss, Karin Lind Mörnesten, gave me a chance to intern at Swedish Care International for a week. I was a bit nervous about the whole set-up – putting on slacks and a collared shirt, working alongside my mom all day, and I had no idea what the company did except that they work with dementia disease. But I was ready to help out with whatever they needed to get done; make coffee, run errands, input data, and organize Swedish “fika” (coffee break) for everyone at the office. What I didn’t expect was how much I would learn about dementia, and that I would be able to help my grandfather/Yeye (in Chinese) deal with his emotions about a diagnosis within our family.
Did you know that there are about 50 million people today with dementia today? And a lot of them aren’t properly diagnosed? What is really sad is that a lot of us still believe that losing our memory is a normal part of ageing. It totally isn’t. Have you seen Alzheimer’s Research UK’s commercial with Bryan Cranston and his analogy of the brain as an orange? It is unfortunate how dementia wreaks havoc on our brain’s ability to function properly.