“My mum was worth every little bit of time that I invested in her”

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Elena was a carer for her mum, who lived with dementia, describing her as “a very vibrant colourful woman and could entertain a conversation with anyone”.

“We did everything together, she was my best friend, I was her whole world,” she said.

Before her mum was diagnosed with dementia she was able to mask her memory loss. But, as Elena was very close with her mum, she knew something wasn’t right.

“She started forgetting where her car was if she went shopping or to the doctor and that used to really distress her because she would think someone had stolen her car,” Elena said.

“She’d forget where she had placed things inside the house or she’d think people were coming inside the house without warning.

“It was quite intense and very distressing for her. Even though these events did not happen, in mum’s mind it was real. So, we all treated it as real because it was to her.”

Throughout the years that Elena spent caring for her mum, she learnt many ways to support her.

“I used to get very frustrated of course but I always made out that it was the first time I’d heard her say whatever it was she was repeating, that would seem to calm her down rather than wind her up,” Elena said.

“We always acted with mum’s best interests and desires at the foremost of our minds and decision making.

“When I had the power of attorney it was always ‘what would mum want in this situation, what is the best thing moving forward and how would she want this done’.”

Although Elena acknowledges the difficulties she faced as a carer she does not have any regrets.

“Everyone’s journey is different, try to be as understanding as you possibly can of the person that you love who has dementia because they deserve that.

“My mum was worth every little bit of time that I invested in her.

“Make sure that as a carer you are supported, so you have got people that you can talk to, who can understand you, support you, make you laugh, take you out to dinner,” Elena said.

“Dementia Australia have a wealth of knowledge and resources that you can tap into that will assist you with your loved one and, if you have the time, by all means please do reach out, even just to talk to them and find out if there is anything they can help you with.”

Elena is one of the many carers who have accessed our services. If you are in a caring role, or are in any way impacted by dementia, we are here for you.

We provide a range of services for people living with dementia, their families and their carers. To find the best support service for you, please call the National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 or visit our website at www.dementia.org.au