Peter

Carer

When my wife was first diagnosed I used Dementia Australia’s counselling service to get me through the tough times. Over the next six years caring for my wife, I used the education services to learn more about the disease so I could better understand the progression and look after her in the best way possible.

My wife Joyce passed away nearly seven months ago after being diagnosed just over six years earlier with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s. She was 76 years old. When Joyce was first diagnosed, Dementia Australia’s counselling service got me through the tough times. Counsellors took their time to explain what was happening to Joyce, how to handle certain situations and what to expect in the future. Simply talking with someone who understood was enough to reassure me that I was doing the best job I could and relieved the pressure of caring for someone with dementia all day every day.

Over the next six years caring for my wife, I used Dementia Australia’s education services to learn more about the disease so I could better understand its progression and look after Joyce the best way possible. After Joyce went into full time residential care in January 2015, I was able to take better care of myself. As a result, I became a better carer and found I had more time to learn even more about dementia. Courses run by Dementia Australia helped me with my volunteering work at the care facility where Joyce lived.

Losing the one you love is very hard to cope with. I saw my wife every day after she went into full time care. As the disease got worse I pushed her around in her wheelchair, taking her to activities as often as we could. Later, I was there for breakfast and lunch to help Joyce eat. Spending so much time at the care facility I naturally helped with other residents and soon became a volunteer – something I had never previously contemplated. I am so involved with the facility now, it has become a special part of my life.

One statement that has stuck in my memory and which I try to practice it every day is, “Join them in their world because they can't join you in yours.”  It is so true.

I turned to Dementia Australia and found all the information I needed. Start learning more here.