My name is Margaret, and I’m a 56 year old woman from Scotland. I have a wonderful family and friends and I love to socialise – when we’re allowed to, of course!

I’ve always liked to challenge myself. I worked ever since I left school and have been in a variety of roles, ranging from PA to director level. When I was diagnosed with young onset Frontotemporal Dementia at the age of 51, I was met with a whole new range of challenges. Six months after my diagnosis I had to get my head around not being able to work anymore. That was tough, and I felt quite useless at the time. I’ve written about that experience in another blog – you can read it here.

It was my consultant who put me in touch with Alzheimer Scotland. I can honestly say since then I haven’t looked back. I got what I needed as far as support and met many people with different types of dementia. The drop in café at the Resource Centre was wonderful for a good old chat and a laugh. I was included in other pilot groups to talk about dementia and how I was affected. I felt like I was doing some good and because of that, I felt I could cope a bit better with the diagnosis.

If I’ve learned anything since my diagnosis, it’s that information is power. For International Women’s Day 2021, I choose to challenge more employers to understand dementia, to change the language they might use, to listen and make adjustments where they can, and to offer support. I challenge them to see the person, not their diagnosis.

Me? Well, I choose to keep positive. I choose to keep my brain active. I’ve got great support from my family and friends, from my faith, and from the community. I’ve met so many new people through Alzheimer Scotland and being a member of the Scottish Dementia Working Group and the European Working Group. This has given me such a lift and it keeps me quite strong. I’m making a positive contribution to the dementia community. I’m connecting. I’m challenging stigma. I’m still the organised woman I’ve always been. I’ve got routines but make adjustments when I need to. I’m taking care of myself. I’m challenging myself - and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.