Dementia – is it truly a mystery?

by Doug Valentine, BSc Eng, window cleaner, Frome, Somerset, UK 

The truth is I cannot remember exactly when early stage dementia started for me, because the onset was so very gradual and undramatic. I understand that it is fairly normal to not become aware until the symptoms reach a certain level. In my own case drinking daily quantities of alcohol that obliviated all my senses also contributed to my lack of awareness. My feeling is that it would have been detectable to me at age forty – or perhaps before, if I hadn’t chosen to numb myself in the way that I did. I feel that it was definitely discernable to me by my mid forties.

How can I say this? Well by then it was becoming a struggle to remember things from the day before with any accuracy, and sometimes not at all. I recall my life around that time being a sort of terror – that I might forget something vital, that may harm one of my customers and therefore also harm my business and my family, and so I wrote everything down on lists and carried multiple messages to myself in my pocket. I was not honest with myself about this, telling myself that this is just what happens, as we get older. These memory issues added to my already high stress levels, because I couldn’t talk to anyone or admit what was going on. I felt that if I did, I would have to cease working in my business, with all the financial implications that that might have for my family. So I chose to hide it and not seek any help. I also put my head in the sand with regard to considering what could have caused it. The above average alcohol consumption, as well as above average caffeine consumption, continued as before, without any thoughts of cutting it down or perhaps more sensibly giving it up!

In my mid fifties, my daughter introduced me to the Universal Medicine presentations. I was immediately struck by the sense that Serge Benhayon was making to me across many subjects, but particularly on the subject of health. Inspired by this common sense, I started to question many of the choices I had been making ­– and making for a very long time. For example, if alcohol is a poison, which also anaesthetises all my senses – and it is – why had I been putting it in my body daily for so many years? And if caffeine races and stresses my physiology – which it does – why do I need to do that to myself several times a day? Was my high blood pressure related to my use of these two drugs? Were my memory issues also related to how I was choosing to live?

After pondering these questions for a while it became more and more clear to me that I needed to give up both these drugs completely and unreservedly. I came to feel certain that not doing so would be very harmful to my health, which was already in bad shape. And so, the words “never another drop shall pass my lips” were spoken and to my great surprise I had no problem with giving up alcohol, even though it had always called me back to it very strongly whenever I had tried to take a brief break from it before. Although I never thought that I was an alcoholic, probably because I didn’t need to drink during the day, there is no doubt that it owned me to quite some degree. Giving up caffeine actually proved to be harder than giving up the alcohol, which I would never have guessed. It took me months to give up caffeine, because every time I reached around 4 days, the withdrawal headache reached a point where I would cave in and have a coffee to relieve the headache. As now appears very obvious, this transpired to be a very foolish thing to do, each time resetting me to the beginning of the process, whereas if I had managed just to tolerate the headache for another few days, I would have avoided months of headaches and frustration, going around in a cycle that was leading nowhere.

Over the next few months my health slowly improved and somewhere around the six months mark, I noticed that my head felt very much clearer and the fog that had previously filled it had gone. I reckoned that the last time my head had felt so clear was when I was a teenager. I also found that I had gradually ceased writing myself lists and messages, and what really convinced me that I had healed was when my wife asked me something about yesterday and my recollection often seemed to be clearer than hers, which was a first for a very long time.

So with huge gratitude and appreciation to Serge Benhayon and to Universal Medicine for revealing to me what the choices I was making, including drinking alcohol and coffee, were actually doing to me, I declared quietly to myself that my early stage dementia was healed. I have no doubts whatsoever that without Universal Medicine, I would be a fully diagnosed dementia patient today.

From listening to Serge Benhayon, what I have come to understand about dementia is that it is related to presence or more to the point, lack of presence. Presence meaning to be with yourself, with whatever you are doing. Serge also introduced me to the concept of checking out, meaning to choose to not be present with yourself. So for example, if while I chop vegetables, I am thinking about the week ahead or a meeting coming up on Friday, instead of my mind being with my body while it is chopping, it is off in the future. Therefore I would be checking out, I would be not present with myself as I chop. Choosing to think about yesterday whilst doing any task is also checking out, because we have chosen not to be present with ourselves in that moment. So it is a really simple concept – if we choose to be in the past or the future rather than in the present moment, we are checking out, and the more that we do this, the more we are sowing the seeds of our own dementia.

As dementia progresses, it is well understood that the person’s clarity regarding who they are talking to and what is going on becomes less and less over time, until they have only rare lucid moments. If we look at this with respect to the presence and checking out paradigm, this fits and makes total sense. As the disease progresses, the person is less and less present, but is this what happens or is it actually the other way around? In other words, could the choice to check out and not be present, be the cause of dementia?

Some facts

Dementia affects over 830,000 people in the UK. Around 23 million of the UK population have a close friend or family member with dementia, and we are not many years away from everyone in the UK being personally affected by dementia, either directly or indirectly. As well as the huge personal cost, dementia costs the UK economy £23 billion a year, which is far more than double the combined costs of cancer and heart disease. Breaking the numbers down, each dementia patient costs the UK economy £27,647 each year, compared to each cancer patient £5,999 and each heart patient £3,455. (1) Unfortunately the problem is not a stable one, but rather a rapidly growing and developing one. The number of people worldwide suffering with dementia is forecast to double within the next 20 years. (2) All the organisations looking into this are focused on how to manage the coming crisis and no one appears to be considering possible causes. For example the main focus of the UK Department of Health Dementia report (November 2013) (3) is on the fact that less than half of dementia cases are diagnosed and when they are, the post-diagnosis support is inadequate. So the problem is even worse than we think it is already and the Health System is already struggling to cope with the 50% of the people with dementia who have been diagnosed.

So with each dementia patient costing £27,647 each year and rising (and this is just one of many diseases), it is not hard to see why the health systems around the world are heading for bankruptcy, as has been predicted by Serge Benhayon.

The next huge problem is that no one in medicine or in dementia research anywhere on the planet understands the cause of dementia or why it is growing so fast. None of the reports I have looked through even mention cause, except the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dementia Report, which only goes as far as to state: “Dementia is not a normal part of ageing”. (4,5) This is a fairly obvious conclusion, and if it is not a normal part of ageing, there must be something about the way we are living that is causing dementia. Therefore, when someone (namely Serge Benhayon) is proposing what might be the cause of dementia, perhaps we should at least investigate it, bearing in mind that we are heading for the bankruptcy of health systems everywhere, and a lot of checked out people.

I have also learned from Universal Medicine a technique called conscious presence, which if practiced increases one’s level of presence and therefore reduces checking out. I feel it could be a very powerful technique to share with those suffering from dementia and particularly those suffering from early stage dementia. So not only have Universal Medicine proposed the cause of dementia, they have also given us a technique to assist us to avoid or prevent it, as well as possibly even recover from it, if we have it in its early stages.

I have tested the simple hypothesis proposed by Serge Benhayon that dementia is caused by choosing to check out and not be present with myself, and that it can be helped by practising conscious presence, and have found it to be true for me. I am a case study of one, and there are many people like me, who could benefit from this simple loving wisdom and turn their lives around, with the help of Universal Medicine.


  1. Costs and dementia statistics quoted from:
  2. Growth in dementia statistics quoted from:
  3. UK Department of Health – State of the Nation Dementia report.
  4. WHO Dementia Report – overview                                         

1,256 thoughts on “Dementia – is it truly a mystery?

  1. Doug what you have shared in this blog is an eye opener. You are certainly a testimony to “curing” yourself from dementia, (if I could use this word).

    A few things struck me whilst I read this sharing, ‘could the choice to check out and not be present, be the cause of dementia?’ – absolutely!… I observe this more and more, and even from time to time find myself doing this too, and hate it when I do, do this.

    I observe my parents bringing it on, and in a momentum of developing dementia too. I hear this common statement being repeated, “I am forgetting more and more” and attributing it to being old too, in other words, this is my excuse.

    We need more researches conducted, not about curing the disease but preventing it from occurring from a young age, caused by our gaming systems, let alone alcohol, drugs etc. another form of checking out.

    This has been an inspiring read, it is relevant for us all, we are not free from checking out, as we need to be present in every moment.

  2. “Dementia is not a normal part of ageing”. This is true but the danger is it is becoming an accepted part of ageing, and with this comes the complacency that there is nothing we can do about it. What you show Doug is that there is, and even if we start with the obvious things in life such as giving up alcohol that numbs our awareness, and caffeine that speeds our body up, this would be a step in the right direction and from there we could see how consciously present we are with our body and our movements.

    1. Totally agree Alison, the complacency that dementia is an accepted part of ageing. When will the world realise that dementia is also occurring for the young too?…I see it like a fungus that slowly creeps in and bang, its grabbed you. Too late? Maybe? The question is, are you willing to do something about it?

  3. The magic of conscious presence as a preventative measure, or medicine, against dementia is that it doesn’t cost our financially burdened health systems a penny, a dime or a cent.

  4. No disease is accidental and it is amazing to read something like this to know how our practical everyday life choice can bring a real, big change to our overall wellbeing.

  5. There are so many things in our lives today that encourage us to ‘check out’. Looking back over the last 50 years or so, activities available to us have changed so dramatically, particularly with the huge advancements in technology. With the increase in Dementia being so high and in our younger generations, undoubtedly this is having a massive impact on many people and the lack of mind/body connection that is so vital to us all.

    1. I had never heard of dementia in young people until this last decade, I guess there may have been some but I read now that it represents 5% of dementia cases. What explanation do we have for this? None that I can find being proposed. So perhaps checking out and not being present in your body might be the actual cause as predicted by Serge Benhayon. Might young people being addicted to screens rather than living their lives be a contributory factor?

  6. What I realise is that dementia is not an illness that one day randomly appears, but rather a consequence of a sustained choice of not being present in our body. In the end of all, we are the investers of our own illness or health by the way we live everyday.

    1. Well said Amparo, there is nothing random about dementia and if we take responsibility for our health and wellbeing and remain present in our bodies rather than checking out, we should not be part of the statistics.

  7. I love the honesty you bring in here Doug and how it required you to be willing to look deeper, really feel what you knew was not truly who you are and say yes to taking responsibility for your own health. Very inspiring, thanks for sharing.

  8. A great point you raise Doug, that if dementia is not a normal part of ageing then it makes absolute sense that the way in which we are living and our lifestyle choices must be contributing to the onset of dementia and other diseases.

  9. “With each dementia patient costing £27,647 each year” – Wow what statistics – surely it would be worth testing this hypothesis on a global scale to see what would happen if we were more focused with our minds and did not constantly live in our thoughts so much.

  10. The projected numbers of dementia cases are frightening and the cost and pressure it will put on healthcare treatment! What is scarier is, the number of people on their phones! The phone has become a new appendage that needs constant engagement with. There is even a phobia for not having a signal. And, there are many countries that have enacted laws and penalties for using them whilst driving. Dementia was once hidden, today it is like finding Where is Waldo for those that are not planting seeds for its growth.

  11. There seems to be little if anything known about the cause of dementia, what was once a disease that was associated with age is now becoming more prevalent across all communities and social backgrounds, there is still research to be done, and maybe the missing link is in our choices although scientifically difficult to prove.

    1. Well actually the cause is known in that Serge Benhayon has offered what the cause is, namely checking out of life or in other words not being present in your own life. This makes solving the escalating dementia crisis very simple so long as you have not let it get to the stage that you cannot be more present. But it won’t be simple because the simple will be resisted, people prefer a magic pill to changing their behaviour and currently most prefer to check out than be present. So it may take some time.

  12. What we currently label as science is far from the real thing. Take the latest dementia news today: Hearing aids slow dementia by ‘75%’, new study finds and/or Dementia: Atrial fibrillation may increase risk of the condition. I would question is looking for a correlation truly science? … and how do these correlations fed to us daily via the newspapers actually advance us at all?

  13. It’s pretty scary the rising statistics about dementia and the fact that everyone seems to be accepting it as a new normal, and not with the alarm bells of finding out why this new trend is emerging. Surely even research is now as overloaded as medical care with so many people presenting with illness, injury, and disease? The simplicity we can come back to is how we live everyday, and making self care our priority by listening to and respecting our bodies.

  14. When I first heard Serge Benhayon talk about presence I didn’t really know what he meant. Thanks to The Gentle Breath Meditation Serge presents I started to get a sense of what he meant. From there I started to really be on it to be present in what I was doing and not letting the thoughts take me away. What I have come to feel even deeper is the quality in how I am in what I am doing and this the true meaning of presence.

    1. Like you Natalie I had never given any thought to conscious presence and what it means. So I was quite shocked to find I was checked out in my mind most of the time and similar to Doug was without knowing in the early stages of Dementia, having spent years in my mind talking to myself rather than expressing what I was feeling to others. Universal Medicine has supported me to change how I am with myself so that being caring towards myself is a work in progress. I actually can feel a depth of love in my body that I was unaware of, now it has my full attention so that every day is a joy rather than a struggle.

  15. This ultimately says that we have a role in how we are and how we are living and that the more we just don’t want to be aware, the more our bodies start to show this – as is reflected in dementia. So what do we have to lose? I say nothing at all but to make the most of experimenting with our bodies to see if more love means more awareness.

    1. You are right we have nothing to lose. Could anything be worse than dementia? With dementia, it is as if we no longer exist but we are still alive. Its a sort of limbo land waiting for death but not even being aware that is what we are doing.

  16. We all know when someone is not there or checked out, but your question here ‘could the choice to check out and not be present, be the cause of dementia?’ is apt, for what if that final state is how it starts, that when we check out, we set in process something which leads us to being more permanently checked out. There is so much to look at here … why more and more people have it, and even younger, and how do we care in these scenarios … a widespread conversation is needed across society here to look at this.

    1. Every week I read some headline as I walk past the newspaper section saying about a coming miracle cure for dementia. We prefer any hope of such a magic pill to having to look at how we are living and to take responsibility for it. The World Health Organisation states that 90% of illness and disease in the UK and 70% Globally are from lifestyle choices
      This is mind boggling but of course true, but we don’t want to know. We don’t want to have the necessary discussions, we don’t want to look at our part in our own illness. Until we do start to be willing to look at this and take responsibility for our own health, things will continue to get worse. Do we need cancer to be one in one before we wake up?

      1. For me this is why these blog sites are so important Doug, so that there is an opportunity to discuss what is truly going on in our society, just by having these discussions it is like throwing a pebble into the pond and watching the ripples expand out. We do not know what affect the ripples may have, in just the same way we do not know who will read these blogs in the future and be inspired to take more care of themselves based on what they have read from ordinary everyday people writing about their experiences of life.

    2. Monica what you have described here Is the possibility there are incremental steps towards the more permanently checked out state known as dementia.

  17. Interesting isn’t it when we treat some illnesses and diseases with such a sense of mystery and confusion like we don’t know how they happened meanwhile ignoring some of the most basic fundamental common sense things we can do to support our health.

    1. Our ability to reduce everything down to merely the physical and ignore everything else that is happening unseen to our eyes, namely energy enables us to claim that everything is a mystery when in fact there is no mystery.

  18. For the WHO to state that dementia is not a normal part of ageing should surely ring alarm bells all around the world, that something is desperately drastically wrong in our society, and that as a notable scientists recently said, science cannot fix this.

    1. I agree, there is no solution to dementia and what I am finding is that people are not interested in whether WHO state it is not a natural part of ageing, on the whole they would rather ignore that and continue to think that it is just part of growing old, that way no one has to take any responsibility for their health.

  19. I checked out a few times reading this! A good reminder about the importance of being present and with your body when you are doing an activity. If you don’t pay attention now, you will pay it later!

      1. Absolutely, once we start to clock the checking out in ourselves and in others it is quite shocking the degree to which it is increasing (until such time as we individually choose to put a stop to it and be present in our own bodies), I was going to add that the way we are going we are going to be walking around like zombies, but then it occurred to me that this is already the case with many people I observe.

    1. True Sarah – I realise that when I feel short of time it is because I have chosen to check out when I have some free time rather than remaining focussed on those things which feel to have true purpose.

  20. Doug, there is a very real sense of the huge responsibility that you felt towards financially providing for your family, and so not wanting to be fully honest about what was going on for you. And I wonder how many men are experiencing the same, getting through the day in fear of letting everyone down if they really talked about their inner-world.

    1. I too suspect that it is not unusual for men to bury illness and disease such as dementia. This head in the sand approach led to the early demise of a friend of mine who didn’t go to the doctors about a brain tumour until it was way too late for them to operate.

  21. It feels like many of us are trying to fill our life with as many moments as possible to check out, and the more often and the more extreme, the more desirable. Anything but to be consciously present. Granted we are not even supposed to be here, but checking out and numbing ourselves doesn’t get us out of here.

    1. Human life is becoming more and more intense, anyone can feel that and also that the trend is towards it becoming even more intense, but checking out doesn’t address the intensity it is just an attempt to bury it. This attempt is deeply harming of ourselves and of course to others too. It leads to withdrawal and lack of commitment to life and sooner or later dementia.

    2. Checking out itself should be ringing alarm bells because life is obviously painful for many of us to the point we don’t want to be here.

  22. Thanks Doug for painting the reality here. I had no idea that dementia was such a large drain on our health care systems and our society. It is something we don’t tend to hear much about, compared to other illnesses e.g. cancer so thanks for writing this blog and sharing your experiences.

  23. I’ve read this before and enjoyed it just as much second time round! Particularly that realisation when you give up drinking of what the clarity felt like when you were younger. I had exactly the same experience, and I would never trade that for another drink… the feeling is priceless.

  24. ‘So it is a really simple concept – if we choose to be in the past or the future rather than in the present moment, we are checking out, and the more that we do this, the more we are sowing the seeds of our own dementia.’ It is about time we accept this truth but it seems that as a whole we are choosing more distraction and escaping in a virtual life than being present in our body. What you see now in healthcare is that younger people are coming in with dementia and there is a lot of sympathy for them having dementia and of course it is awful to see how lost they are and how young families are affected, but are we ready and willing to see the truth, that we can make lifestyle choices to change the tide?

    1. Good points. I don’t feel we are ready to start to admit that we are responsible for causing our own dementia, but it will be a great day when we are so ready.

  25. I have found that the immense common sense presented by Serge Benhayon is simply the best antidote to the pattern of sticking one’s head in the sand, and conscious presence is an integral part of that common sense. Once it was presented to me I could see how often I wasn’t consciously present but off somewhere else, either in the past or in the present; not a wonderful way to live in this world with all of me.

  26. “Were my memory issues also related to how I was choosing to live?” What we are willing to do to our body in the form of dulling and numbing our awareness makes it plausible that we check out of being present with our body through our momentum of ill choices that leads to longer and longer periods of not being aware of ourselves and our surroundings and must have a significant impact and effect on our memory.

  27. So many people are walking around these days completely oblivious to what is going on around them, they are completely checked out listening or talking on electronic devices, they momentarily wake up to the sound of a car horn as they go to cross the road, we are becoming a society that is permanently distracted, no wonder the dementia age is getting younger.

  28. “I have no doubts whatsoever that without Universal Medicine, I would be a fully diagnosed dementia patient today..” This blog empowers us to know that there is always something we can do to support ourselves, regardless of how serious a diagnosis may be. What do we choose?

  29. I find it very interesting in society today, our unwillingness to see how addicted we have become to substances in our day. To me, if we cannot do without something, there is an attachment and therefore an addiction to some degree. The trouble is eg. our consumption of caffeine has become so normalised that we don’t think of it as being addiction because of the number of people drinking it on a daily basis.

    1. Good point. We all overlook the fact that caffeine is a drug and a very addictive one too and with more and more caffeine dealers springing up all the time. We overlook the fact that caffeine races the physiology of its users which is harming and will affect their health eventually. We overlook so much that we don’t want to see.

  30. “And if caffeine races and stresses my physiology – which it does – why do I need to do that to myself several times a day?”
    A simple and practical question and a great learning on how to heal one’s choices by bringing truth to oneself.

  31. We all know that the use of coffee is only increasing, also the places where you can buy coffee are increasing in number, look at any shopping area in a city, supermarkets, train stations etcetera and you’ ll see it with your own eyes, it seems we are encouraged to check out, to make ourselves racy and not be with ourselves and not many people are questioning this or look at the longterm consequences of the stimulants we use to abuse our body.

    1. It’s true, I can feel that we have a kind of wilful blindness to things like coffee and the way it and other stimulants take us out of ourselves. We all know what it is doing but choose not to know.

  32. Putting our heads in the sand and not wanting to look at our choices and others and why we are where we are is the most harmful thing possible. We have to start being courageous like Doug and be prepared to look at what we think is ugly. Bring understanding to our lives and others gives us the opportunity to grow and learn, to me that’s what life is about.

  33. Look at all the eras we have survived intact until the late 20th century. What has changed? The base of all things electronic started with the transistor in 1947 that was the size of a sewing thimble. Today, more than 100 million will fit on the head of a pin. Dementia is happening at a distressing rate in younger adults. Looking at the youth today that seem to be unable to be separated from their phone and play stations, are they becoming the lost generation? Is there a tsunami of dementia coming to this checked out generation? The waters are already receding!

    1. I like what you are offering here Steve. I would say that you are right, the current youth of today is heading for being a lost generation without any true sense of purpose and the degree of checking out that they do with screens will I would agree lead to younger and younger dementia incidences.

  34. I feel that we sometimes check out when we can’t be bothered to stay with what is in front of us or we don’t feel we can handle what is in front of us. It’s like we reject ourselves first so that we don’t have to feel rejected by someone else or something else. I am reminded of a quote from Serge Benhayon writing in Esoteric Teachings and Revelations : ‘in order to feel hurt we need to switch off our own love first’

  35. It is interesting to consider how checking out and not being present with ourselves in each moment sows the seeds of dementia and it makes sense how the body receives certain messages from our choice to check out and more crucially responds to our choices highlighting how important it is to stay present and aware.

  36. By checking out and spending more and more time in Alice’s rabbit hole, so, do we eventually just forget to come home and become a resident of the Mad hatter’s tea party?

  37. The fact that “Dementia is not a normal part of ageing” has been presented by Serge Benhayon for many years and from what you have shared the World Health Organisation is now saying the same thing. While many have come to understand this, there is still the majority of humanity that still believes that dementia is often part of the ageing process and as they continue to do so the chances are that they will not be looking anywhere else for the answer to this growing health issue; so the numbers will keep on rising.

    1. It is true what you say Ingrid, most of humanity is not yet ready to hear that they are responsible for their own dementia and prefer for it to be an unlucky ticket in a lottery, so they are looking for solutions, not true answers to dementia. When they are ready the answers from Universal Medicine are waiting for them.

  38. Incredible Doug; dementia is debilitating, on the rise as well as costly for our healthcare systems, and it’s time that we explore the ‘WHY’ factor even if this does challenge our attitudes to life and choices in daily life.

  39. The statistics you quote about the costs of dementia compared to cancer and heart disease are truly shocking and yet no-one is questioning how we got here. Since it is recognised that prevention is better than cure it makes sense to look at what leads up to someone progressing into full-blown dementia and as your case study shows it does not have to be an automatic progression. It is surely worth exploring more conscious presence for all as a way back from a bankrupt health service and society.

      1. This says it all Doug. No profit in prevention, therefore ultimatley, is people’s future health not worth investing in? There’s something there that makes me wonder how much we as a society are invested in being ‘sick’.

      2. All the profits are in keeping people alive longer and longer with multiple illnesses which can be alleviated slightly with expensive medication. So that is what we now have bought. Twenty or more years longer lives in exchange for multiple illnesses and generally a much lower quality of life. This is what we get when we make life about self rather than the all or if you prefer making life about profit for self or the few over the benefit of all of us.

  40. Just imagine if everyone understood that we simply cannot check out of life without having dire consequences… That it is imperative that we actually stay present and in our bodies… Sometimes with the consequences of feeling what we have actually have done with our lives.

  41. We are saturated with choices to not engage with life. We have largely accepted ‘life is hard’ and that we need and deserve a way to escape and check out. What is amazing about Universal Medicine is not that they have supported people to stop drinking alcohol and taking drugs or overcome an illness, but it has and keeps presenting a possibility to be VERY honest with the way we are so that we can begin to make the choices that we truly want for ourselves, all the changes are its consequences.

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