Fighting Dementia-Sharing the Positives.

My name is Phil Slater. As it was Dementia Awareness Week recently, I am hoping you would like to read our story.

My Dad lived with Dementia for 11 years. My Mom (now 84) and my son, who is now 10 years old helped me to care for my Dad at home for 10 years until he was taken out of our hands (against our wishes) and moved into full time care.

Our experience in my Dad’s final year in care is very sad. He was healthy and active, weighing 12 stone when he was moved into care, but he didn’t last 12 months before he passed away at less than 6 stone on the 17th of May 2017. The final year is a story in itself. I eventually hope to share the detail to spread awareness, so that the way my Dad was treated and the mistakes that were made can be learnt from, to prevent others suffering the way my Dad did and the effects it has had on our family.

This isn’t the reason for me sharing my story now. I want to share the positive side that others may find inspiring.
During the 11 years my Dad lived with Dementia we created over 100 positive Facebook posts and videos captioned ‘Fighting Dementia’. They showed activities to stimulate the brain, to show that not all is lost and that our loved ones are still there. You just have to find ways to bring out their true personalities and happiness. This included many armchair sports such as boxing and football. My Dad was an ex-professional boxer and had a great passion for football. He loved taking part in armchair boxing and football.

My son Kodi was born into his Grandad’s Dementia and from an early age he learnt all about the condition, including learning all his Grandad’s favourite wartime songs so that he could sing with him.
The following is a video telling Kodi’s story of his Grandad and how finding a passion in football has helped Kodi to overcome the loss by focusing on something he now loves.

Sport Bible, an on-line sports news and entertainment site, are due to release their edited version of this next week on their Facebook social media page. They will be including a link to the Alzheimer’s society and they will also include this link to Langdale Care.

Langdale Care in the East Midlands has been inspired by our ‘Fighting Dementia’ posts and incorporated armchair sports in all 5 of their care homes. Kodi and I donated brand new equipment and now 180 of their residents are benefiting from these activities. The feedback has been phenomenal. Something I had been trying to promote for years has finally taken off. I’m due to take Kodi to visit the homes for a photo shoot where he wants to take part in these activities with the residents just like he did with his Grandad and other residents at the time.

Kodi’s own story has been so inspiring during our fight back. He has met the footballer, Dele Alli, after winning his competition ‘Who’s the God Trick Shot Challenge’. Dele now follows Kodi’s Facebook and Instagram page. Some of Kodi’s social media videos have reached up to 11 million views. He has appeared on American TV ‘That Kid’s Got Game’, represented Football Flick (football training equipment) at a major London event and appears in many of their adverts on social media.
However, his proudest moment since he started playing football only 2 years ago, was being filmed for CBBC’s Match of the Day ‘Can You Kick It’. I had to take him to Manchester for trials. He had to complete a course in the fastest possible time. He was up against selected kids from across the country aged 10-15. Most of the kids played for professional clubs. I think Kodi was the youngest and probably the first to appear on the show having only 2 years’ football experience, which is an incredible achievement.

All these positive outcomes have been born from the sad circumstances surrounding my Dad’s condition. We have taken our experiences and built on them. We hope by sharing these experiences we can inspire others in their journey with dementia and can assist carers and relatives support those with the condition.

Kodi and I hope you enjoy the links.

Best wishes,

Phil and Kodi Slater

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