Kathryn, 64, has watched her mum’s dementia progress to the point that she now needs constant care.
The second eldest of Dot’s six children, Kathryn manages a roster system, dividing up the week between herself and two siblings to ensure one of them are with her mum every evening. The arrangement means Kathryn spends three nights a week away from her own family. But she says it’s worth it.
“Mum would deteriorate very quickly if we took her out of here,” said Kathryn referring to Dot’s Mitchelton home. “Her father built the house and her husband put on the extension. She can orient herself here”.
Dementia impacts close to half a million Australians and almost 1.6 million Australians are involved in their care. This Dementia Action Week (20-26 September) Centacare is joining Dementia Australia to show that, for people living with dementia, ‘a little support makes a big difference’.
Centacare provides a range of services for people living with dementia as well as their families and carers. Service Delivery Manager Sharron McMillan said her team felt privileged to walk alongside people like Kathryn and her mum Dot, 88, who’s a regular at both the Enoggera Social and Community Hub and Pechey Place Respite Cottage.
“We receive amazing training to help us understand how dementia impacts a person’s life and we absolutely believe people can continue to live beautiful, full lives for many years after their diagnosis,” said Ms McMillan.
“Everyone lives with dementia differently. It’s important to create meaningful opportunities that connect them to what was familiar, what they were good at or what was important in their life.
“As a young woman Dot loved sewing, embroidery and patchwork. She doesn’t have the cognition to follow the process involved in these things anymore but she still has her fine motor skills. So we do intricate craft work and colouring-in with her. She just loves it. She enjoys being very precise and really concentrates on her work.”
Kathryn too, reflects warmly on the moments that her mum’s personality shines through. “She was a keen sportswoman and a competitive one. She told me she played Skittles at the Hub the other day and was very quick to point out that she won,” Kathryn laughs. “I could just see her, taking the time to line up the perfect shot.
“It’s the Hub that makes the biggest difference in her life,” says Kathryn.
“Getting ready at home this morning, she was very quiet and lost in herself. As we neared the Hub, she started recognised the streets and chatting to me, pointing out that this was where the bus comes. She just came to life.
“The support workers here are terrific. Mum feels safe and comfortable and I love that she’s given opportunities to make choices where she can and live a life that’s as full as possible. That’s exactly what we want for her.”
If you care for someone with dementia, Centacare offers a range of flexible, help to care options support at home, out in the community, at one of our social and community hubs or overnight stays at our respite cottages.