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To mark Father’s Day, Carmine and his daughter Vanessa shared with us some of their favourite memories, their plans for the day and what being a dad means to Carmine.
Carmine lives in South Australia with his wife Simone and is the proud father of two adult children, Josh and Vanessa.
Almost ten years ago, Carmine was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This diagnosis was later updated to a diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia.
Vanessa tells us about her dad Carmine and how his calm nature helps to bring the family together.
“Well, he is very easy going, he's probably the most chilled out one in the family considering the chaos that goes on. He's very just calm and collected you can be having the worst day or something really bad has happened and Dad’s just relaxed about it, no worries, no biggie. He is very chilled out like that which is what we need in our family,” Vanessa said.
Carmine is somewhat of a coffee connoisseur and would often bring Josh and Vanessa along to the café – childhood memories which are cherished by Vanessa.
“Dad is a big lover of coffees and cappuccinos so when we were younger, he would always take us out for coffee and get us a little baby chinos which he will complain now is more than 50 cents but back then it was free. We would do little coffee dates. He loves daddy daughter dates and daddy Sundays,” Vanessa said.
“When we were younger, we did a lot playing in cardboard boxes if we got like a new fridge or building Lego towers and it's funny because he enjoyed it just as much as us, if not more.”
As the years have passed and the family dynamic evolved, the family still ensure that they make room in their lives for quality time together.
“Obviously now we are older, and we have gotten busier we like to watch movies together when we get a chance and he's pretty chilled out about that,” Vanessa said.
Carmine tries to make family time enjoyable and strives to foster a loving and supportive environment at home.
“It has had its challenges and it was difficult at the start when the children were younger. We don’t have much time together now but when we do, we try to make it meaningful and fun. We have a little ritual at home, and after we have a meal, we will go around the table and say, ‘You are worthy, I love you, you are the best daughter/son in the world.’ We turn the TV off and have a bit of a chat,” Carmine said.
Vanessa highlights Carmine’s caring nature, and how he’s always available to offer emotional support to her or her brother.
“Dad is always so supportive, if I'm upset, he will come and give me a hug and let me know it's OK and always reinforce the positive qualities that I have, which is nice. He will always make sure my brother Josh and I are OK so he’s very caring in that way,” Vanessa said.
Carmine is Italian and his love for Italian food, in particular pasta, is something he has passed on to his family.
“To celebrate Father’s Day we will go and have lunch together. Dad is Italian so we have picked up the love of pasta so when we have pasta together it just feels right. We don’t cook, we just eat,” Vanessa said.
Our thanks to Carmine and Vanessa for sharing their story.
Dementia Australia supports all people of all ages living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. If you need any support or advice at this time, please contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500, Monday to Friday from 8am-8pm, excluding public holidays. Or visit our website www.dementia.org.au