Dementia Australia’s Living with Dementia program gave us an excellent insight into how to adjust to and live with our new situation. The library is extensive and has been a fantastic resource. The staff always know just what you need at the time. My support group is my current lifeline. All services are fantastic.

My husband Mike was diagnosed in August 2013 at the age of 62. Our neurologist referred us to Dementia Australia and urged us to access the services straight away.  We did and were fortunate to join a younger onset group a few weeks later. Being involved with Dementia Australia has been a lifesaver for us. The Living with Dementia course gave us skills and understanding that helped us to live with our new reality. And, being a part of the Consumer Advisory Group (CAG) has given us a new set of friends and colleagues as a further support group. Speaking publicly, appearing on TV, attending forums, and being part of the CAG have all helped Mike’s self-esteem. My support group and the resource library continue to be ongoing sources of help and guidance for me personally. 

The hardest part of caring for Mike has been having to learn to be patient. It has meant, having to stop doing some things I used to enjoy doing alone and find others we can do together. This has been a challenge as I value my alone time. It’s also been hard to understand entry into and the costs associated with residential aged care. The prospect of this when it becomes a necessity, causes me a lot of stress. But, I know I will be able to count on Dementia Australia to help me through this time, just as I have so many times before.

Unexpectedly, I am learning to appreciate Mike more than I did before when I took what he did for us for granted. I now do most things he used to do. I also find that sometimes I wonder who is the carer between the two of us because often when I get frustrated or angry it's Mike's understanding and sense of humour that defuses me. So these are real positives and I didn't expect any positives.

If there were one thing that I would want people to know caring for someone living with dementia, it’s to keep your sense of humour. Understand that your partner has a disease. Take one day at a time and be grateful for what you can do together and don't stress about what you can't do. And, join the family at Dementia Australia. 

I leaned on my support group in Dementia Australia’s Living with Dementia program. Why don’t you, here?