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“There are moments when we’re together listening to music, and I hug my grandfather and it’s like he’s back to his normal self again. In those moments, he’s connected back to me.”

Bella, granddaughter of Antonio, who has dementia.

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Antonio, 81, had always been there to guide and protect Bella, his only grandchild.

They’d built a special bond and spent endless hours playing soccer, listening to music and watching old home movies together.

But suddenly Bella’s hero wasn’t connecting with her: it felt like he was slipping away.

Bella was in Year 2 when the family started noticing he would repeat himself and lose things. “We put it down to old age,” Bella recalls. “We didn’t know much about dementia.”

When Bella was in Year 8, Antonio began having paranoid thoughts and would hide his car keys and put things in odd places. Giovanna, his wife, told the family how he would wake at night and talk to the reflection in the mirror, thinking it was a deceased relative.

Antonio’s family took him to see a GP, and soon after, Antonio was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.

My grandmother was in denial at first. She thought that if she just helped him enough, he could still get better.

- Bella, Antonio’s loving granddaughter

 

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Antonio’s dementia was rapidly progressing, and he was forgetting relationships and his past and becoming even more confused. “We were losing the connection,” says Bella.

“At times, he’d get angry or disappointed because he’d forgotten part of a story. You could see the sadness and disappointment but then a switch would flick in his brain, and he’d move on to a different story or conversation.”

It’s no wonder people with dementia get agitated, depressed and even angry at feeling so disconnected – and at Dementia Australia we’re determined to ease the pain.

But we can’t do it without your generous support. Your donation could make an incredible difference to people like Antonio.

Just before Christmas 2020, a difficult decision was made for Antonio to move into a nursing home to get the round-the-clock support he desperately needed.

It’s been a very challenging year since then, with Bella and the rest of the family unable to visit during months of lockdown. To stay connected, they would video call, but this left Antonio emotional and confused.

We found that when he saw our faces on the video call, he’d get so upset, because he understands it’s us, but we’re far away and we can’t be with him.

- Bella

 

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Will you send a gift so we can help ease the distress for people like Antonio
and his family, so they can keep connections alive?

Your donation can bring immense relief, ensuring people who need it can access our support services, receive counselling, attend support groups or get referrals for important services to keep loving bonds alive.

Since Antonio went into nursing care, connecting with the Dementia Australia team for the first time has brought Bella and her family comfort and strength. They are getting vital education and advice to navigate this tough journey.

“My wish for both my grandparents this Christmas is to be as happy and healthy as possible, and despite the challenges of dementia, still find the joy and beauty in the world.”

Please donate today.

Please get in touch with the Dementia Australia fundraising team to make a donation or find out how you can support us.