Dementia Action Week encourages Australians to become well informed about the struggles, as well as the highlights of dementia throughout September to ensure that people living with the condition feel less isolated and alone. Alongside this enlightening week, today is also world Alzheimer’s Day.

World Alzheimer’s Day highlights the need for all of us to reach out to people with dementia in our community to let them know they are not alone. The theme for September, and especially for today is related to ensuring these members of our community don’t feel isolated. The theme of the week is ‘a little support makes a big difference’ with today’s individual theme being ‘together we can ensure no on faces dementia alone.’

Residents diagnosed with dementia often experience varying levels of memory loss and personality changes that may have a bearing on the individuals wellbeing. These changes can often result in feelings of loneliness and isolation. These feelings can be too familiar for dementia residents and their loved ones, the opposite of what we endeavour to achieve at Southern Cross Care (WA) Inc. residential care homes. We are committed to ensuring our residents living with this condition feel less isolated and alone.

Loved ones and carers have a heartfelt impact on the overall happiness and wellbeing of residents living with this condition. We all want to create a positive experience and emotional state for our residents.

Pete and Maris during the 100th birthday celebrations

At Southern Plus East Fremantle, Marjorie ‘Pete’ is a true testament to experiencing happiness and reaching milestones, despite her dementia diagnosis. Pete has never been fond of the name Marjorie, adopting the official nickname ‘Pete’ many years ago.

Pete was first diagnosed with Dementia in 2016, aged 95. “We slowly saw her dementia progress; we became concerned with her safety and wellbeing. We knew she needed more support than what could be provided at home.” Said Maris, a relative of Pete.

Before her diagnosis Pete was a wonderful teacher and an accomplished artist. Maris explained that Pete changed a lot of student’s lives with her encouragement to pursue their chosen careers. “This wasn’t very common back then, some of her past students will still ask about her to this date. They send messages asking how she is doing.”

Initially her family were worried about how Pete would maintain her joyful spirit, “we were worried about her still being happy, that was the most important thing to consider.”

One of the pieces of art created by Pete earlier in her life.

Enjoyably, Pete is as vibrant and happy as always. She recently reached an incredible milestone, celebrating her 100th birthday with family, friends and the team at SPEF. “We wanted to celebrate Pete’s 100th birthday with family and residents as SPEF is truly her home now, the residents are part of her family. She is happy here.” Maris said.

In more recent times she has become less aware of others, however she does recognise who is familiar. The support she receives from her family, friends and Carers alike have positively contributed to protecting her joyful spirit and overall happiness.

As seen within Pete’s experience, dementia doesn’t have to equate to isolation and loneliness. It can be a celebration of life, experiencing deep friendships and reaching incredible milestones. A little support, community spirit and friendship can make a wonderful difference to those living with dementia.

To learn more about dementia and how to reach out to those within your community facing this condition, please visit https://discrimination.dementia.org.au/?_ga=2.38242403.1524855429.1631600185-863818283.1629864839

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