When Geetika Dayal’s mother was diagnosed with early onset dementia, it changed the course of lives of all family members.
Her parents have been married for 46 years and Geetika’s dad has changed from partner to carer, choosing to care for his wife at home rather than have her move into a care home.
On the latest episode of our podcast Western Sydney Health Check, Geetika talks about emotional and physical impact of her mother’s condition and shares insights on how to care for a carer.
At 61, her mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, which is a common cause of dementia. She was aware and upset with the changes she was going through. However, with the love and support of all family members, they all were able to find joy, despite the diagnosis.
Geetika says knowledge is power. She jumped into research straight away, took a few courses on dementia and found support groups in Dementia Australia and Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) that helped her family adapt to the new way of life.
- Listen to this episode and catch up on previous chats here
In time, the family had to “adjust their adjustments”, as the needs of a person with dementia evolve. They all learned to speak to mum in a different way and turned their parent’s home into an open living space for ease of movement.
Geetika also speaks about importance of self-care for carers, making time for hobbies and seeking help.
“Tears will be there, but you will still be able to have many great days after the diagnosis,” Geetika says.
“Mum’s dementia has brought the best in us and we have become way closer to each other.”
Joining her on the podcast is dementia advisor Sue Tolhurst, who explains what dementia is and talks about range of options available through the WSLHD Dementia Advisory Service.
Dementia affects close to half a million Australians. Despite the difficulties in everyday life, people can continue having active and rich lives many years after diagnosis.
WSLHD has partnered with Dementia Australia and Anglicare at home to address problems faced by families living with dementia, as well as to discuss ways to build inclusive communities and increase engagement with people with the condition and their carers.
Click here to learn more and register for the free online forum ‘Keep the world open for us’.
If your loved one was diagnosed with dementia, reach out to the following organisations for help:
- Western Sydney Local Health District Dementia Advisory Service
- Anglicare At Home
- Dementia Australia
- Dementia support Australia or call their 24 hour help line 1800 699 799
- My Aged Care
Carers support organisations: