Vivien

I care for my husband who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 63.

Pre Diagnosis- We were able to holiday overseas and take a caravan to places in Australia. We had a large garden which my husband kept in very good order.

He also had completed a Financial Planning diploma so was managing our finances very capably.

Diagnosis Journey- The actual diagnosis took almost 2 years as we were told my husband was depressed!

He was diagnosed by the CADMS team in Drouin. We were not given any suggestions for support, but we were fortunate that I had a friend with experience in dementia so I joined the Alzheimer’s Association.

Life Style Changes- We had both retired before my husband became unwell which possibly made things easier. My husband was not allowed to drive and all of a sudden he had no idea about finances or money. We sold the caravan and looked at holidays where I could drive and needed to be in one place- not moving holidays. He stopped gardening and doing any jobs around the house. He was initially tolerant of our grand children but now becomes inpatient with them. So consequently, we do not see them as often which is difficult for me.

We spend a lot more time at home now and gradually I am unable to leave him at home by himself. This curtails my life and I can see the time will come when I cannot leave him at all. I am not sure how I will cope then. We have help from our local council in the form of respite for one and a half hours per week! We live out of town so this time is not enough! We have someone to clean our house 1 ½ hours every 2 weeks.

Some of our friends are not sure about our friendship now.

We were able to attend a “Living with Memory Loss” workshop which was very helpful and from that I now attend a Dementia Carers meeting once a month. But once again I need help for someone to keep him company. At the moment, a friend is able to do this.

While attending these meetings, I realize that there are “packages” which can give support and practical help, but you need to be on a waiting list for these while we carers try to do our best for our loved ones and stay sane! It is a very difficult road and dementia should have the same support and fund raising as many other illnesses such as cancer, diabetes etc.