As a young person whose mother has been recently diagnosed, the fact sheets and key worker program provided me with invaluable information which I then shared to help educate the rest of my family and friends. I found great comfort and support knowing I could talk with someone who understood the challenges and changes I was facing as a primary carer.
My mum was diagnosed in late 2014 at 54 years-of-age. We were encouraged by her medical team to access the support services of Dementia Australia, and immediately found the fact sheets and speaking with support workers extremely helpful.
Mum was diagnosed late and deteriorated rapidly. The Dementia Australia Key Worker Program was particularly helpful as I was able to learn how to better help mum and how to help myself so I still had the energy to care for mum. I was also pointed in the right direction when managing challenges that arose in the residential care facility where mum now lives. The consumer advocacy network has been immensely rewarding and inspiring as I feel I am able to help my mum on a larger scale while also helping other families impacted by dementia.
The hardest part of caring for someone living with dementia is grieving for someone who is still living. My relationship with my mother has drastically changed as I have taken on the role of parent and we can no longer share the same experiences that we previously shared. The most unexpected part has been how much fun I can have with my mum, knowing that I can put a smile on her face and make her giggle gives us both such joy. It’s the simple things that make us laugh but that’s all we need.
I’d like to remind people caring for those living with dementia that although at times you might not feel it, every smile you put on the face of your loved one is priceless and makes all of their tough times worth it.
I learnt about dementia through Dementia Australia’s fact sheets. You can learn more here.