Maria and Peter's story

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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.