Tomaž Gržinič came to Spominčica – Alzheimer Slovenia for a consultation in 2015, because of his father, who was affected by Alzheimer’s Disease. At the counselling, he was directed to a specialist, who diagnosed him with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease in 2016. He says that when he was given the diagnosis, his life changed a lot – for the better. He became more attentive, accurate, his self-discipline improved. He only has some orientation problems, due to which he avoids unfamiliar places and travelling at night.
Even though he is retired, he remains very active. He still works for a graphic company, preparing and editing articles for newspapers, magazines and books. He enjoys reading newspapers, watching sports, hiking and gardening. He cannot imagine his life without sports, family and friends. He takes care of his wife, who is recovering after a stroke.
Tomaž is an active member of Spominčica and a vocal advocate for persons with dementia. He is actively involved in Spominčica and is happy to share his experiences with the disease at the awareness raising activities and in the media. He gave a few interview and was a guest at several TV programs. He participated in a role-play TV program for a National Slovenian Television with a famous Slovenian neurologist Dr. Zvezdan Pirtošek. He demonstrated and explained how dementia affects his life and his decisions. He emphasized the importance of timely diagnosis, which gives you a chance to adapt your activities and decide about important issues.
He was present at the opening of the first Dementia Friendly Spot at the Human Rights Ombudsman Office and at the 9th International Alzheimer Conference ASK 2017. He will also be present at the 10th International Alzheimer Conference ASK 2018, where he will share his experience and stories with the delegates. He is also a regular visitor of Alzheimer Europe conferences and EWGPWD meetings.
He also contributed to the Australian-Slovenian book of poems and stories book about dementia called Forget-Me-Nots=Spominčice. Danijela Hliš wrote the in 2017. Danijela is of Slovenian nationality, but is living and working in Australia for almost 40 years. She is an advocate of persons with dementia and member of Alzheimer Australia. Read a short story of Tomaž about his experience on living with dementia below.
Tomaž became a member and a president of the Slovenian Working Group of People with Dementia in 2017 at Spominčica – Alzheimer Slovenia. Spominčica also nominated him to join the EWGPWD, to which he became a member of in December 2017. In the group, he replaced Bojan Španja (60), former Slovenian member of EWGPWD, who cannot attend the meetings anymore due to progression of the disease. He is very active at public debates and sharing his experience. Vice president of Alzheimer Europe Jean Georges personally welcomed Tomaž as a new member of EWGPWD in the January issue of Alzheimer Europe Newsletter. He stated he looks forward to working with him. EWGPWD has 11 members from 11 European countries. Their moto is »Nothing about us without us«. With it they want their voice to be heard as people with dementia know best what is like to live with dementia. Read more about Tomaž on EWGPWD member page or in May 2018 AE Newsletter.
LET IT LAST (from FORGET-ME-NOTS = SPOMINČICE)
When I was given the diagnosis, confirming the beginning of dementia, my life changed a lot. For the better! I became more attentive, accurate, with improved self-discipline. Of course, my family and friends quickly noticed this. I told them about my new companion, dementia, and yes, we often joke about it. We laugh, knowing it will be really faithful and with me forever. I feel my friendships are stronger. And my quality of life is better. I did not give up any sports, and I continue enjoying my many hobbies. I am really committed, because I don’t know what is ahead of me. But my present is quite OK. Let it last!