Dementia doesn’t just happen to ‘old people’.
And when it does strike, it’s heartbreaking for the whole family.
Ellie’s greatest wish is that her mum, Maria, will be there when her first child is born this year is one that may never come true. To Ellie’s anguish, her mum no longer recognises her.
“My mum was the person to whom you could say, ‘I need so-and-so’s phone number,’ and she would just know it off the top of her head. So when she started to forget recipes that she would make every single day, my dad thought, ‘That’s not right,’ and took her to the doctor.”
After six agonising months looking for answers, Maria’s memory loss was diagnosed. She had younger onset dementia.
Deeply shocked at the news, Ellie and her family felt lost. No one knew exactly what the diagnosis meant for them as a family or what steps to take next.
It was heartbreaking for Ellie and her family to find out there was no cure for dementia or any way to stop what was happening to their mum. But thanks to the generosity from our donors, we were able to provide some support when they turned to us for help.
“Dementia Australia came out to talk to us about the services they could provide that might work for my dad. We decided on the social activity based groups for people with memory loss. They would pick mum up and take her to a music class. It gave dad some time to himself, just to do things around the house or get things he needed without having to worry."
Did you know dementia is now the leading cause of death for women in Australia? There is no cure. It’s an urgent and growing need – but with your help, our services can be a lifeline for people dealing with dementia as well as their families and friends.
“The first few years were okay. Mum was still very social, but then it was very quick, her decline. Then it became difficult for her to remember how to have a shower, walk down the stairs or even how to eat. And then the day came when she couldn’t even remember us, her kids. It was harder than you imagine it could be.”
Ellie won’t be able to share the joy of the arrival of her baby with her mother, but your generosity to Dementia Australia will help us provide vital support services to the growing number of people affected by dementia.