"Dad has always been the one to lift me up when I need it. Now our roles are reversed and I’m helping him. It’s so hard to see Dad change, but I’m grateful for every day we get together."
- Prue, devoted daughter and carer to Tim.
"One day, Dad wanted to show me the man in the mirror who was watching him."
Tim was a committed family man. He was also busy running a business, loved to cook his family dinner every night and plan exciting holidays. He felt bulletproof.
But at 51, Tim began making unusual mistakes. He’d put food away in crockery draws and came home with dings in the car. Then, Tim was quickly let go from two jobs in a row. It’s when Laura, his wife, had concerns that they went to the GP.
Tim underwent test after test and one year after his symptoms began, Tim was diagnosed with younger onset dementia.
This year, almost half a million Australians like Tim are experiencing the double whammy of COVID-19 restrictions and dementia, a fatal, incurable disease.
Despite his positive attitude, COVID-19 has been a nightmare for Tim.
Calming routines have been severely disrupted. Exercise therapy has been restricted. Nightly news about COVID-19 overwhelms Tim. Social distancing and handwashing are impossible to remember.
"One day, Dad wanted to show me the man in the mirror who was watching him, I realised he was talking about his reflection – he couldn’t recognise his own face anymore. I broke down crying and rang Mum. I can’t imagine how awful this must feel for Dad."
This is how Prue described the day her family discovered Dementia Australia.
Tim received the help he needed to link him with a range of support services in his community. Counselling has helped with the mixture of emotions, and education has helped Tim and his family understand his condition.
"Not only has our family gained tools to help deal with our situation, Dad has also made lifelong friends through Dementia Australia. We know we are not alone: it’s an incredible feeling."