The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates 472,000 Australians today are living with dementia.
Living at home for as long as possible is the healthiest, happiest choice for most people living with dementia and their partners, or other family carers, according to Dementia Support Australia.
But, without effective methods for coping and caring, home living can be stressful for the carer and the person living with dementia. That doesn't need to be the case.
To support both, Dementia Support Australia is running Staying at Home, an innovative three-day, two-night residential program around Australia and it's coming to the Hunter Valley at the end of February.
It's Australian Government-funded, there is no cost to participants and places are open for the Hunter Valley program at Lovedale on February 28 - March 2.
IN THE NEWS:
"Everyone wants to continue living at home," says Staying at Home project leader Tom Gauci. "It's our place of comfort, familiarity and security.
"Staying at Home empowers people living with dementia and their carers to continue living together at home for as long as possible."
Carers are taught how best to manage behaviour changes that come with dementia, how to obtain 24/7 support from DSA's staff and other community services, how to plan ahead and, very importantly, how to care for their own well-being.
Participants living with dementia are supported to continue activities they treasure - gardening, for example, or bowls - introduced to respite care, and have an opportunity to discuss their diagnosis with our team and other participants.
"One of the great benefits of the program for family carers is they share experiences and learnings with others in similar situations," says Marie Alford, head of Dementia Support Australia at HammondCare. "They know they're not alone."
"The program was amazing," said a family carer who attended recently in Victoria. "The opportunity to meet with other carers was very enlightening ... sharing thoughts, emotions and lots of other issues and suggestions was very helpful.
"The (Staying at Home) team made the program fun while caring for our loved ones and at the same time imparting their knowledge and tips for coping.
"Providing time away from caring duties let us all have a break. I returned home feeling rested."
Eligibility information about the Staying at Home Program is available at https://www.dementia.com.au/dsa-staying-at-home
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.