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Coping With Dementia Means 'Stripping Down One's Identity'

04/10/2014 10:41 am ET | Updated Oct 28, 2014

Ron Grant is adamant that his dementia won't define his life.

“There’s still a lot of good life out there,” said Grant, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. “I hate this disease, I hate having it, but I’m still alive, and I sure want to enjoy the most of it that I can possibly get. I don’t focus on what I can no longer do but still look for those things that I can do.”

Grant joined HuffPost Live's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani for a panel discussion Tuesday about coping with Alzheimer's. Another panelist, Gerda Saunders, spoke about the realization that her self-image needed to change profoundly in light of her dementia diagnosis.

“It is a stripping down of one’s identity,” Saunders said. “For me, it is a remaking of who I am and how the stripping down of one’s mental faculties affects yourself and the people you love.”

Both Saunders and Grant agreed that part of accepting a degenerative disease like this is learning to appreciate the simple things in life while accepting the limitations of the condition.

“You learn coping skills to compensate in some ways,” Grant said. “At my age, I am not going to be a major league baseball player. There’s no reason for me to be upset about it. I’m just too old.”

Watch the full HuffPost Live interview about dealing with dementia below:

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