February 19 2015

It is nearly six months since my last post, and a few things have happened in that time. From October to December I completed the UTAS Understanding Dementia free on-line course. Over 25000 people from around the world were enrolled in the course. I attempted to do the course earlier in the year but dropped out due my own medical problems. That course also had over 25000 people enrolled. The course is set up by the University of Tasmania, Australia. www.utas.edu.au . It runs for 9 weeks and consists of online You Tube videos and interviews. It is divided into 3 units each lasting 3 weeks. The units are  : ‘the brain’, ‘the diseases’ and ‘the person’. I found that I needed to spend 4 to 5 hours a week to complete the course. I recommend this course for anyone who wants to get started on discovering more about this cruel disease, dementia.

After completing the course I received a few emails from UTAS suggesting that I enrol for one of the units in their Batchelor of Dementia Care course, Negotiated Studies in Understanding Dementia. After much contemplation I decided to fill out the enrolment forms and gather all the documents they required. Last Sunday I received an email offer for me study, by distance learning, at the university. As the next semester starts on February 23 I have been very busy looking around the UTAS distance learning website. I have no experience of university culture, so this week a very steep learning curve is being created as I write this.  At this moment it is going like a rocket way above anything I have attempted before. As a newbie to university culture they have a free preliminary course called ‘Unistart’. They say it takes about 30 hours to complete the course and it is good, but not essential, that you complete it before February 23, that is before semester 1 starts. On Tuesday I managed to find my way to the Unistart course on the UTAS website.

I have realised for sometime now that I have a lot of free time on my hands. I retired from work 6 years ago. Since my wife has been a nursing home resident for 18 months now, life has been a lot easier for me. One of my tasks that a needed to do immediately was work out how much time I have free to do the study. After filling in a diary of a typical week I discovered I have in excess of 20 hours per week of free time. I really have more than that but I excluded Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights as “my time”.

So a new journey begins. How long will I last? I have no idea but I will give it my best shot and hopefully complete the unit that they have offered me. After that, who knows what will happen. I might be the oldest uni dropout or get bitten by the study bug and see it through to the end. Watch this space……



About labtad

Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. Migrated to Australia in 1968 and now live in an outer South eastern suburb of Melbourne. Married since 1966 to my wife who was diagnosed with dementia in 2011. I am an imperfect follower of the Christian faith who believes that most things in life happen for a reason or purpose. The last 12 years, since my wife showed the first signs of having memory problems, have gradually taught me patience, compassion and some understanding of the situations that arise when a person Is living with dementia.
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3 Responses to February 19 2015

  1. I did a few years of Open University and found it an enriching if challenging experience.


  2. Katie Bannister says:

    Hi there,

    I’m working on a project at work to make people within my workplace more aware of Dementia and the effects that it has not only on the person with the disease, but also the wider family setting. That’s when I stumbled across your diary. Just wanted to say what a moving and emotional experience it was to read all of these inputs. I wish you and your wife all the very best. Stay strong and thanks for sharing.


    • labtad says:

      Hi Katie, thank you for your comments. It has been and continues to be an emotional roller coaster. I wish you well with your work project to bring better understanding to your work colleagues.
      Peter Wade.


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