Walking for Granny - Auckland Walk For Dementia, Sunday 25/3
Walking for Granny - Auckland Walk For Dementia, Sunday
After the heartbreak of watching her mum fading away due to early-onset Alzheimer’s, Auckland woman Victoria has rounded up her daughters, plus her sisters, and nephews (aged 1 to 6 years) to take part in this year’s Walk for Dementia on Sunday 25th March.
Victoria says her motivation in taking part comes from the great support they have received from Dementia Auckland over the past few years following her mum Alison’s diagnosis when she was in her late 60s, and so far they are leading the donations with more than $3,000 pledged from extended family, work colleagues and friends.
“It’s been a really tough few years for us as a family. Mum has become increasingly dependant on dad and us girls. My partner, young daughters and I moved in with mum and dad near Warkworth a year ago, which means we can share the role of caregiver,” she says.
Victoria shares how Alison lost her ability to drive, and is now unable to be left alone, requiring around the clock supervision from her and her dad John. Having two kids of her own to look after, Victoria falls into the classic middle generation of those with both young kids and elderly parents needing care. This is where Dementia Auckland has come in and provided invaluable support to Victoria.
“Nothing is going to change the outcome; you know where it’s headed – but just to have someone listen and support as well as their tips about how to handle this difficult time in our lives has been a real saviour,” says Victoria.
“We often use the card they gave us, which says ‘my companion has an illness that causes memory loss and confusion’, which I can discretely show the shopkeepers to help make the experience as calm and normal as possible in the midst of often socially inappropriate behavior from Mum.
“We are a really close knit family and we want to support dad and mum in the best possible way. We wouldn’t have figured out these tools and ways of working with her if it wasn’t for Dementia Auckland and our key workers Emily and now Jo, who have been an amazing support. They have been there for us from the start and now it’s nice to be giving back,” says Victoria.
Dementia Auckland Chief Executive Rod Perkins says part of the message around this year’s walk is to help lift the stigma around dementia, so more people are willing to share their experiences and get the help they need.
“We’re here for anyone and everyone walking through dementia, whether they have been diagnosed or are supporting a family member. It’s about creating the best life possible for the person with dementia, including great care, understanding and the tools to support as much independence as possible.”
Victoria is one of hundreds of people
who will be taking part in the free 5km Walk For Dementia
event this Sunday 25th March, starting from Selwyn Reserve,
Mission Bay (by the fountain) at 9:30am. For more
information or to register visit www.dementiaauckland.org.nz.
About Dementia Auckland
Dementia Auckland is a not for profit organisation dedicated to providing dementia support services and to inspiring those living with dementia to make the most of life.
Dementia Auckland provides a wide range of services and support across the greater Auckland region. Dementia Key Workers offer intensive support and practical strategies for the carer of a person with dementia, including home visiting, telephone consultations and support groups.
The Living Well with Dementia Socialisation team offers meaningful and interest based activities throughout the area, providing the person with dementia opportunities for friendship and activity, while providing respite for the carer.
The Education team provides in-depth information and strategies to carers, the general community and to other service providers.