Core Team Profile: Mark Roberts
Mark and Sophie:
Talk about Dementia Support Animals
Hello my name is Mark Roberts! I live in Michigan – that’s in America. J I was diagnosed in 2014 with vascular dementia. My family, my church, and my pet Sophie are all very important to me. I like to go fishing, hunting, and camping.
I worked at a college in Alma, MI. I was the mechanical supervisor. I did work with plumbing, heating, boilers, swimming pool maintenance, organizing crews/contractors/repairs on equipment, etc.
I helped host the Highland festival held on Memorial Day on the college grounds. I also helped to set up and participate in the crop walk and relay for life among other things.
I did a lot of volunteer work in the school district and with a theater group. I set up construction for plays, did whatever electrical work was needed on the stage, and served on the board. I also volunteered with the sports boosters. At one point, I counted six different groups I was on the board for.
I was very involved with church. I ushered, I did communion, I was a greeter, I played in several plays, helped in the kitchen, and sang in the choir. I did a lot with the youth group including helping them to do service projects on elderly people’s homes. I helped to maintain the building and property as well.
I was married to Brenda in 1976 and I helped my wife deliver two children. We went on camping, fishing and hunting trips with my family - and my grandchildren.
Now I fill my time with things like feeding my birds, helping my daughter with her chickens, doing house work, yard work, and plowing snow. I like to go get Brenda some tea in town because that is something I know she really likes.
My wife and I go to conferences and sometimes a church gathering to talk about dementia. Brenda and I help people understand brain changes with dementia and how to live a good life. I zoom with Dementia Minds, PAC (Positive Approach to Care), and DAA (Dementia Action Alliance). I participate with individuals in Nevada with people living with dementia as well.
I have a dementia dog, Sophie and we’ve been training for two and a half years. We are training her to get my insulin in the evening, to find me if I get lost, or take me home if I get lost in our surrounding area. She is also a good companion. She helps me a lot with anxiety. When I get with a dog, I can just really relax.
Getting rid of my anger is something I feel I have done successfully. I pray, meditate, and sing. After dealing with my anger for almost five years, now I am very accepting of the challenges and the things that lie ahead for me in the future. I do things that make me feel good.
Something I am continuing to work on is dealing with the changes that come with dementia gracefully. I talk with and help other people who are struggling to come to terms with their dementia.
People with dementia need to search on the internet for dementia groups and try to find one that fits them. It gives you an outlet that allows you to talk openly about what is really going on with your dementia struggles.
There’s a way to live good with dementia!