Maria and Peter's story
A little while ago Peter had a fall and was admitted to hospital. Physically he recovered well and they sent him home after a week. I noticed soon after though that he was getting stressed easily and had trouble reading the paper. He also got very upset if I had to go out; even if it was just up to the shops.
My daughter suggested we get an assessment and ultimately he was diagnosed with dementia. I think I had known all along. Peter is a bit older than me and I was finding that I was starting to lose track of my own life. I’m used to being independent.
One of the people at my exercise class gave me the number for Carer Services and I phoned them. A woman came and sat with me and told me about the sorts of things we could do so that I can have a break from Peter and he can have one from me!
He goes on outings once a week now. He really enjoys the company and they pick him up from the house in a mini-bus. It means I can get so much done. Or I can just sit in the garden and read quietly if I want to. It makes a real difference.
Recently, Peter stayed at a house on the Peninsula for the weekend. He was fine and will be happy to go again. I’m thinking about going to Sydney for my granddaughter’s 21st in a couple of months and it is comforting to know that Peter will be OK and cared for while I am gone. I am also considering doing a Creative Ways to Care course through Carer Services which is specifically for carers of people with dementia.
Life has changed, that’s for sure. Naturally, I wish this hadn’t happened to Peter but some days he is not too bad and I am pleased that I can keep him living at home with me. Even if he does call me his sister sometimes!
We asked Maria to summarise how using Carer Services helped:
- I wouldn’t have known where to start looking for help but the staff at
Carer Services are really knowledgeable
- The weekly outings they helped me to arrange are a great break in the middle of each week for both Peter and myself
- The chance to learn more about dementia and go to the free carer
workshops as things progress is good too
- I can plan ahead
- I know where else I can go for assistance if I need to.