I attended a Dementia & Nutrition Seminar when my Dad’s nutrition needs and meal time behaviours were changing. The seminar helped me to understand the changes my Dad was experiencing, how to manage his challenging behaviours and how to improve my Dad's dining experience. It also helped me to understand the importance of managing my own emotions which is important for carers as it can be easy to doubt when someone you’re caring for loses interest in eating.
My Dad was diagnosed with dementia in September 2012. He was 72 years of age.
Dad knew there was something wrong with his memory but it was difficult for him to understand the diagnosis due to the decline in his cognition. We were referred to Dementia Australia by the Aged Care Assessment Services team. Being involved with Dementia Australia has helped me to understand that dementia is more than memory loss, and realise the importance of raising awareness as there are still so many people who don’t understand it. Dementia Australia has helped me to better understand dementia, what to expect as the illness progresses and help inform decisions about Dad’s care.
The hardest part of caring for Dad is losing my connection with him as his daughter.
I grieve for the relationship we once had and feel a sense of loss because I now see very few glimpses of the father I used to know. Seeing Dad act in ways he never did before his diagnosis has also been hard.
Caring for someone living with dementia is challenging, emotional and confronting but it takes just a knowing smile, a sparkle in their eye or familiar words spoken from your loved one to remind you how much value you’re adding to that person’s life.
I learnt about dementia through Dementia Australia’s seminars. You can too here.