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“Like many others, my first real experience in seeing dementia and its effects was seeing a loved one, my great grandmother, live through it. I was younger and didn't know as much as I do now. This is what drives my passion in raising awareness about dementia. I wish to help others who may not know what lies ahead in their dementia journeys.”
A young mother of two boys and a new baby born just last week, you could say Daniela already has a lot on her plate, but she also signed up to be one of Dementia Australia’s Dementia Advocates. Daniela was just twenty-two years old when her great-grandmother, Mama Ana developed the early symptoms of dementia.
“I noticed her doing things out of character. She moved out of our house, saying she wanted her own space. She had problems with her new neighbours, accusing them of stealing her socks. She became more aggressive.”
Daniela believes Mama Ana moved away in an effort to hide her cognitive decline due to being worried about being stigmatised. She always had a close relationship with Mama Ana who had taken care of her as a baby. Daniela was able to calm her, being patient and speaking in Spanish to her, even when Mama Ana could no longer recognise her and would call her “the nice Spanish nurse.”
Sadly, Mama Ana passed away in 2015. Daniela says caring for great-grandmother inspired her to work in the aged care sector for the past decade, supporting other people at various stages of their dementia journey. Daniela says she would especially like to help people overcome language barriers when accessing the support, they need.
“I would like to help people of non-English speaking backgrounds, as that was one major barrier for my great-grandmother.”
Have you or your loved one recently been diagnosed with dementia or mild cognitive impairment? Call us at any time on 1800 100 500.
If you require the assistance of an interpreter, please call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450. We also have a number of help sheets available in 38 languages. To find out more visit: www.dementia.org.au/languages
Consider becoming a Dementia Australia Dementia Advocate like Daniela.