Music keeps David humming along

David had been driving Brisbane City Council buses for 10 years when, one afternoon, he realised he didn’t know where he was or what he was doing. He arrived home shaken and told his wife he had just worked his last shift. He was diagnosed with dementia shortly after. 

While living with dementia has changed things for David, it hasn’t kept the now 86-year-old from living a full and meaningful life. With government funding from a Level 2 Home Care Package, David accesses services from Centacare that allow him to keep humming along, safely and independently from the comfort of his Macgregor home.  

It’s Wednesday afternoon at Centacare’s Sunnybank Social and Community Hub, where David is indulging his love of music at his weekly singing group. He flips through his song book to find Morningtown Ride by The Seekers and music therapist Colleen leads them in from behind her keyboard.  

Music is in David’s blood. Both he and his father played piano and David also played viola. It’s a love he shares with his wife of 61 years, Patricia, who also attends the Sunnybank Hub. Patricia is part of Centacare’s Vintage Voices Choir, a vibrant group of 60 singers who come together every Wednesday under the direction of renowned choir master Debra Shearer-Dirié.  

“It’s a lovely day out for us, and very enriching for David,” said Patricia. “It gives us the opportunity to share the joy of singing with like-minded people and have a bit of fun. We rehearse for a couple of hours and then share a lovely lunch together, which gives us a chance to really get to know one another. The Centacare bus picks us up from home and drops us back in the afternoon so it’s very convenient.”  

Patricia was an original member of Vintage Voices, which formed in 2010. David was also part of the choir but recently transitioned to the smaller singing group, which he finds more manageable.  

Centacare Service Leader Darryl said David’s transition to the smaller group was a good example of the individualised care that people find at Centacare. “It’s really important to us that we meet people where they are on their journey and support them in ways that allow them to keep doing the things they love. This means working alongside them and providing the right blend of support, practical assistance and encouragement.” 

As part of David’s Home Care Package, David and Patricia also receive also receive support at home services, including Domestic Assistance for 90 minutes per week and a range of Centacare’s flexible, help to care services, which gives Patricia the opportunity to rest and recharge away from her caring role.  

“Once a fortnight David heads out with his support worker Stephen,” said Patricia. “They go to Bunnings and to the barber for a haircut – whatever boys like to do. I like to travel interstate to visit family and David enjoys extended stays at Centacare’s respite cottage, Pechey Place. They take such good care of him – he helps out in the kitchen and in the garden. It’s wonderful for me to know he feels relaxed and comfortable and in safe hands.” 

What will help you to keep humming along from home? 

You know better than anyone what you need to keep enjoying the comforts of home. Our size, expertise and full suite of services means we can tailor a Home Care Package that’s right for you. Call us on 1300 236 822 to find out more.  

Do you care for someone with dementia? 

While caring for someone you love who has dementia can be rewarding, it can also be tough going. If you care for someone with dementia or neurodegenerative condition such as Parkinson’s disease, you may be eligible for Queensland Health Dementia Respite (QHDR) funding. Please call your Service Leader or our call centre on 1300 236 822 to find out more.