About Me

About me 

My name is Geoff Orry, I was born in England in 1942 but have lived in Scotland since 1969. I am married and have two children and three grandchildren. I worked in aircraft computer engineering and data processing engineering with a multi-national corporation. I am a member of the Scottish Dementia Working Group and I sit on the Alzheimer Scotland Board of Trustees. 

This blog is about my journey in coming to terms to living well with Vascular Dementia. It’s merely a story, in my own words. The experiences and observations are entirely my own, related here to share with you the rise and fall of emotions during that journey.

I hope this blog will offer some comforting words to others, also diagnosed with dementia, and are looking for some solace at the end of a seemingly very long and dark journey. 

Geoff Orry


I was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia in 2017, but my dementia adventure started in October 2016. Looking back, for many months or even years I had ignored what turned out to be early signs of dementia. I shrugged off suggestions from my lovely wife to visit our GP and get advice about memory, loss and balance problems. Eventually, I gave in and I did visit our GP to undergo the first of a series of tests - from mental arithmetic to observation and memory recollection. This was followed by a hospital appointment with a consultant where I participated in three tests: cognitive, memory and mental ability and agility tests


Consequently, in 2017 after visiting three hospitals and several MRI and CT scans, the diagnosis was confirmed - I had Vascular Dementia. The confirmation of the diagnosis and receiving the news really was devastating, emphasised by the matter-of-fact way it was delivered. Facing the reality of dementia for me was a real challenge. To understand for example, what did the future really hold for us? Would we be able to continue enjoying the lifestyle we had been sharing for many years? As I discovered more about Vascular Dementia, my mind was still turning somersaults with questions - when would I need admitting to a Care Home? What more safety aids would we then need, how fast does Vascular Dementia affect the brain? What help would we get and would we eligible for financial support to be able to live with Dementia?  


Initially my reaction was one of shame about getting a diagnosis of dementia. I just wanted to keep it secret from friends and neighbours and I did not want to leave the house. I certainly did not want to be, in any circumstances, a burden on anybody, especially, to my dear wife!

My favourite expression is, “All the time I have my faith, my wonderful wife and my sense of humour, things will turn out all right.”

The effects of Vascular Dementia

During the first few months after diagnosis, I was lethargic. Fatigue set in quickly, after for example, a few hours working on my model aeroplane. I am still easily distracted and tend to lose focus over a given task. Thanks to medication, I find that I am no longer so tired in the evening, and my lethargy has all but disappeared. 

When the DVLA decided that driving my driving days were over I was angry, I had been a member of the Institute of Advance Driving for 30 years and passed my driving test in 1961.  I gave up my pilot’s licence years ago and I was quite happy to give up flying, yet I was devastated when the DVLA took away my driving licence. In retrospect, however, it was the best decision I never made! The downside is of course that my wife is the chauffeur and drives me to everywhere.. 

I use a walking stick around the house and a community alarm is installed for when I am alone at home. My mobility is slow therefore the majority of tasks can take a lot longer, which can be very frustrating for all concerned. There are times when I do get frustrated because I am slow on my feet To get to the local shops and the town centre I use my mobility scooter which gives me a fair bit of independence and freedom.

Loss of memory can sometimes be a problem and does affect my speech. For example, halfway through a sentence I can forget a name of a place or a location. Long term memory loss on the other hand does not appear to be a problem. I can recollect memories from years ago. As an exercise I have written down and made a record of memories from times of old when petrol was 1/6 a gallon.

Living well with dementia 

Before my diagnosis, for over forty years Anne and I were touring caravan enthusiasts and had visited many countries and driven thousands of miles on various holidays. After I stopped driving, we invested in a static caravan. It is our shelter from the world; a tranquil place to escape to relax and recharge our batteries when life gets too hectic.

My local authority East Renfrewshire, and the Richmond Fellowship provide many activities, such as exercise groups, discussion groups, singing groups and quiz groups. The Covid-19 pandemic closed most local activities. Some group meetings went on-line, but the value of human contact was missing, especially for those people living alone. A physical group meeting is probably their only contact with other people.


My advice to others 

The biggest challenge facing anyone with a diagnosis of dementia is accepting the reality of the diagnosis and understanding that changes in lifestyle have to be accepted if you want to live well with dementia. But let’s be honest with ourselves, nobody likes change do they? We are all happy, contented and comfortable with things as they are! Be positive in accepting these life changing circumstances, concentrate on what you can do, but challenge yourself to tackle those tasks you think you cannot do. Go on surprise yourself!

My final piece of advice to anyone with dementia is to join a local support group. In Scotland we have an organisation affiliated to Alzheimer Scotland, called the Scottish Dementia Working Group. Join a similar local organisation, become actively involved in making decisions on subjects that are important to the local dementia community. By joining a group you will have opportunities to meet with others with a similar diagnosis, share your experiences with them and discover there are many people in the community with the same problems and anxieties. Membership of the SDWG, for me has been life changing, both in acceptance of the diagnosis and giving me a positive outlook for the future.           



Geoff at Dementia Champions
Geoff speaking at a Dementia Champions event