Posts Tagged ‘Norrms McNarama’

Dementia  –

Plagiarism or Finding Purpose

Hi all,

This is the most difficult post I’ve had to write.

I have been asked by both sides to comment on the Poem “Dementia and The Christmas Tree,” which I will do.  The question posed is whose words are these – Norrms McNamara or Harry Urban?  I have posted both versions at the bottom of this blog. Please keep in mind, both men have Dementia.  Both are full of wonderful and powerful insights they share with people.  Both use different yet similar platforms to share their wisdom.

I believe each man is an incredible example to all of us for speaking, writing and sharing his thoughts when he has them.  Both men are brave souls making a huge difference worldwide.   I would hate for this incident, to detour Harry, Norrms or anyone else with Dementia who is thinking about sharing their thoughts to help raise awareness.

Please note below are my goals for Dementia awareness and how I try to live my own life which may help you understand how and why I am addressing the question of plagiarism the way I am.  If you are looking for me to pick sides, you will be disappointed as I will not, nor will I make judgment as I respect both men way too much for that.

First, my personal goal is to raise awareness in a collaborative fashion around the world giving voice to all who have important information and insights regarding Dementia.

Second, I have found for me that when I judge or look for blame it takes much of my personal energy and I’m not willing to give that up anymore. I try very hard not to go down the rabbit hole of negativity. I try to practice not controlling others outcomes.  I have learned over the years, I can only control myself and my choices; and so I try to lead by example vs. trying to make someone else change.  I’ve also found when I try to make someone else change I am setting up a win lose situation and I have found life is not so much black and white, as it is grey.  When I look back at my life, I have also found that all of the control and judging I have done, and believe me I have done more than my fair share over the years,  has distracted me from my core intent… in this case raising awareness for Dementia.

Third, and most important I don’t know the actual answer; nor do I think any of us do.  I think the truth falls somewhere in the middle in that grey matter. YES, I believe Harry’s comments were his own and came from his heart and soul.  And YES, I believe Norrms did the same.  I also believe that what each of us experiences through what we see, hear, touch, feel and read can affect us in different ways.  Sometimes these events can trigger us to dive deeper in thought.  Do I think Norrms intent was to steal, harm or take credit away from Harry?  My guess is no. Did Norrms see or hear about Harry’s Christmas Tree story?  I do not know.  And given Norrms has Dementia he may not either.   For me, I also have to consider it is the holiday season and both men are very good at taking something which most of us don’t understand and simplifying it in a visual way so the rest of  us “get it.”  A Christmas Tree, at this time of the year is a fairly common symbol.

Was this plagiarism?  In my book no, but I am not an expert.  I do see a very similar theme; yet one explores others avenues as well.  I think both are brilliant and have gotten the attention of many which I believe was the intent of each man… to raise awareness by drawing the world a simple picture to explain the disease.

Now, I do know many will want to argue this point publicly and with me, with Harry, with Norrms… which I truly hope they chose not to.  Personally, I can’t imagine how either man feels at this point and I do worry about that.  These are men with Dementia, both trying to have a positive influence to shift our Dementia care culture around the world.  My hope is that people will chose which ever version they like and share it with others to help raise awareness.

I am going to look at the similarities of these writings in this fashion –

  • Both are extremely poignant.
  • Both have cause a stir to those who read them.
  • Neither should be forgotten.
  • And something my parents told me…  That when someone wants to be like you, say or write something like you have; it truly is a form of flattery nothing more nothing less and it is usually very innocent.
  • And last, that all voices need to be heard as we all reach different audiences and different times.

So to Harry and Norrms I say this. 

“I love you both.  I respect each of you enormously and I hope you each continue to raise awareness for Dementia because you both have a beautiful way with words that uncomplicates the complicated and the world needs you!”

For the rest of my audience I have a request

If you have a comment on this article please write me personally, as I will not be posting comments on the blog or facebook regarding this. I think there has been too much damage done to both of these men and I won’t add to that. I also don’t think any harm was done intentionally, but looking over words and phrases stated well I just think it is a perfect time to pause and think. Please keep in mind, Dementia is a disease which causes stress.  I believe we need to reduce the stress to those living with the disease and not add to them.

Below are both Harry and Norrms writings:

Harry Urban’s Thoughts
I’m asked all the time, what it is like living with Alzheimer’s. It a very hard question to answer because it affects everyone differently. It reminds me of a Christmas tree. Every light on that tree is a part of your memory. Each light represents something special in your life.

Slowly one of those lights burns out never to shine again. As time goes on, more lights burn out. This continues until every light burns out and your beautiful Christmas tree is dark. What was once something special is now just a tree. That is what living with Alzheimer’s is like.

Norrms McNamara’s Thoughts

Dementia And The Christmas tree
I am often asked “What, in layman’s terms, is Dementia?” and I often answer it this way, especially at this time of year.
If you can imagine a Christmas tree, absolutely dripping with lights that shine as bright as you have ever seen. Have you ever wondered of the beauty of it and how it shines those lights of hope all around the world?
Then, if you imagine that every one of those wonderful lights are your life’s memories which can be seen (remembered) at any time. Then all of a sudden, one by one, those lights go out. Slowly but surely they start to diminish until they are gone forever, never to return, all memories of loved ones, family and life’s experiences just disappear until the final one folds into darkness and we all know, unless they find a cure what this means.
This is how I explain, in Layman’s terms what Dementia is,

BUT!! And as you know by now there is always a but with me LOL!!

If sometimes, you give that Christmas tree a bit of a nudge!! (And I do not in any way condone shaking anyone with Dementia!!LOL) but, if you include and Engage with people who have this awful disease, sometimes, just sometimes these wonderful lights come back on, if only for a second, a few minutes or permanently, it doesn’t matter, the point is they have come back on and that memory has returned, for no matter how long.

I hope this helps and will help people in the future to try and explain what Dementia is, especially around this time of year.
All my love, Norrms xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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The Loneliest Disease In The Entire World

     Norrm’s is a media magnet for dementia

and we are so lucky to have him out there

working on the behalf of all of us.

     Check out this article

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Dementia Awareness Vdieo From Norrms McNamara in the UK

September 17th,2010

Here are some of Norrms thoughts:

Teetering On The Edge?

There `s one thing you must remember about people with Dementia, they are very good at hiding things, myself included. Yes, it’s been a hectic few weeks and this week is no different as we have four meetings, a memory cafe and Elaine (My Angels) birthday on the 27th and that’s not counting a visit from a very special lady from Bolton who is 83 and done so much for the Alzheimer`s cause in the North west of England.

The last few days I have noticed such a decline in my well being, my memory and my mobility. The nights are just getting worse; there is no letting up in the NIGHT TERRORS dept. I haven’t mentioned having foggy days for a while but where as the “FOG” used to come down in later afternoon it now appears to be there as soon as I wake up. I am struggling to do the most basic things around breakfast and meal times.

Speaking of mealtimes I now have to change my shirt at least once a day as I miss my mouth quite often (I know I know, I’ve heard them all LOL) but none the less embarrassing to say the least. Yes I get the stares and the TUT TUT`S but as anybody who knows me it doesn’t usually bother me, well it hasn’t until now. IS paranoia starting to creep in my illness as I am more aware these days of my surroundings in the way that I seem to know if people are staring, or are they?? It’s very worrying to say the least.

So, now to my mobility, the only way I can seem to describe this is by saying

“Sometimes I feel as if I have someone else’s legs on and not mine”

Does that sound so strange to you? It should to me but it doesn’t!! When I am walking, I am sure my legs want to go one way and I want to go another, what I must look like from the back, but thankfully Elaine is always there to hold me and guide me through my walks. There are also times I just want to break into a run, incredible I know but it’s so overwhelming at times I have to hold on tight to whatever or whoever is nearest. It’s as if I want to run away from this awful disease, and keep on running and when I arrive wherever I am going all will be ok, sadly not the case.

Inside my head I feel as if someone is blowing a balloon up and yet my blood pressure is fine, I want to scream and shout


All these things are happening to me and happening right now with such clarity, and yet I feel foggy and misguided. Is this the confusion as well as the frustration showing itself? If I am told anything these days it has to be in Short bites because anymore than that seems to be too much for me and I get so frustrated and annoyed at not being able to take it all in.

And yet, here I am, typing away, bearing my soul to the world. Admittedly I am not typing as fast as I used to, but still, none the less, I am still here and I am still raising awareness and hopefully helping others what it’s like to suffer from this awful disease, which brings me to my final point.

Yes, I have got Alzheimer`s, and yes, I am getting worse, I don’t think even I could hide from that, but the more I see change (And change is happening) the more I feel driven, the more people say “Things are Changing” the more I want to change, the more people say “Its a lot better than it was twenty years ago” the more I want to make it even better. Both my “Angel “Elaine and I are great believers that everything happens for a reason, and if the reason I have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is to (TRY AT THE VERY LEAST) to improve things for people now and for future the generations to come, then so be it!!!.

Yes I may be “TEETERING ON THE EDGE” but I am not ready to fall over just yet!!!

Best wishes, Norrms and family xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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Dementia Awareness with Norrms McNamara July 21st – Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio

Thursday 12noon EST, 11am Central, 9am PST

You can listen live by calling in or use the internet or check out the episode in the archives after the fact.

You can ask questions or make comments via calling into the show and pressing 1 , or by using the chat room

This link will bring you to the Show

This program will offer hope and insights from Norrms McNamara, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease and making a powerful difference in the world.  Norrms lives in the Uk and is connecting people and changing the face of dementia around the globe.  He is a poet, a writer of truths.  I like to refer to Norrms as an Advocate on Steroids for Memory Loss!

This is a show you won’t want to miss!  We will be answering your calls and questions from the chat rooms don’t forget to turn in!

Norrms website:    

Learn More About Dementia Awareness Day  Sept 17th:


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J. Arthur’s Memory Cafe Live on Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio July 11th

Here is the link to the Radio Show.  If you can’t listen live the show will be archived to listen to later!

Come learn about this amazing collaboration!

What is a Memory Café?

A Memory Café is a place where individuals with memory loss and their caregivers get together in a safe, supportive, and engaging environment. People can connect and interact with peers in similar life situations. There is no embarrassment and no explanations are needed.

Where did the Memory Café Start?

The concept came from the United Kingdom. The UK government coordinates and sets up Memory Cafés, which are in high demand. After talking with David Light who wrote the guidelines for the Cafés, Lori La Bey of Alzheimer’s Speaks here in the United States asked David if he would be willing to share program details with her.

“There was no hesitation in David’s voice. He generously shared all start up documentation. The UK’s attitude is one of collaboration and the greater good.” Lori said.

ACR Healthcare Group, The Alzheimer’s Research Center, The Minnesota Memory Project, The Center for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care of Health Partners, joined Alzheimer’s Speaks to launch the first “Memory Café” here in the US!  

Norrms McNamara from the UK will also be joining us.  He has Alzheimer’s and he loves his Memory Cafe

Our mission:

To provide a social environment which allows individuals with memory loss and their caregivers a safe, supportive, and engaging place to interact with peers.  They named their first cafe “J. Arthur’s Memory Café

Here is the link to the Radio Show.  If you can’t listen live the show will be archived to listen to later!

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