What is “Dementia Australia”?

Whether you are at home caring for a partner with Alzheimer’s, or your partner is now in full-time care and you are now at ‘home alone’ like me, you simply must belong to Dementia Australia. I joined when my wife, Dorothy, was first diagnosed, and I am so glad. The annual subscription is free, although for $25 you can have a ‘Premium subscription. Their quarterly magazine “Member Matters” is always read cover-to-cover by me! I strongly urge you to join. Another advantage is the access to their library, which has both audio and eBooks available, see here: https://dementia-e-library.overdrive.com/

I remember with pleasure, having attended their first-ever public program for “Blokes In The Caring Role”. It was held at their Parkville (Melb) premises in 2016 by two qualified leaders who led participants through a carefully constructed dementia learning process, over four weekly sessions of three hours. It was a fantastic experience in so many ways. Firstly, it enabled me to ‘meet and mix’ with a dozen or so other ‘blokes’ whose partner was affected by Alzheimer’s. Secondly, throughout the sessions, they also encouraged us to confidentially share our insights and personal experiences in a frank and open way that normally we couldn’t do in our everyday life. Not only did we learn so much more about Alzheimer’s, but we heard and confirmed that each of us had such different, yet similar, circumstances, and we discussed and shared how to develop the skills we needed to cope. We learned from each other and were encouraged to explore and discover aspects that, in normal conversations, might have been taboo topics.

Living with a partner with Alzheimer’s impacts every facet of our lives, ourselves and every relationship in and outside our home. And I had never thought about it as ‘grieving’ before that. What a great course that was!

Dementia Australia also has some excellent, easy to read, ‘take home’ single-page information sheets. The one I found very helpful was ‘Coping with Placement’.

Whether your loved one with Alzheimer’s is still at home with you, or is in care, you should belong to Dementia Australia.   Go to their website: dementia.org.au or phone the National Dementia Helpline:1800 100 500 to join up, now.