Anyone who cares for someone living with dementia knows just how important routine and familiarity are. Gold Coast business owner, Lyn, has been caring for her 73 year old husband, Barry, who lives with dementia for the past six years.
“I needed help and I wasn’t happy with my home care package provider who often wouldn’t show up. It’s extremely important that we have a routine in place for Barry with familiar carers so I decided to switch to Ozcare,” said Lyn.
“Initially I asked for two to three carers, however we started seeing a different carer each day. It wasn’t working so I called Ozcare with my concerns. Ozcare started sending Wendy for each visit, an allied health assistant who has made a big difference in Barry’s life in a short time.”
Wendy visits Barry four times a week to take him on routine outings.
“When I first met Barry he was very distressed. We had to walk around the carpark five times before Barry felt comfortable getting into the car with me,” said Wendy.
A month on and the connection between Barry and Wendy has grown.
“Barry now happily comes with me, I hold his hand everywhere we go so he feels safe and secure,” said Wendy.
“We spend a lot of our time at the gym. Strength training helps with cognition so Barry has a number of exercises prescribed by the Ozcare physiotherapist that I assist him with. I help Barry work the machines and equipment correctly, using more or less weights depending on what type of day he is having and then we always head to the pool as Barry loves to swim.”
The strength training, continuity of care and feelings of security have turned Barry’s situation around. Lyn and Wendy both agree Barry is calmer, happier and outwardly displays fewer signs of distress.
“It’s made a huge difference, we wouldn’t be able to survive without Ozcare’s help,” said Lyn.
“Barry loves spending time with Wendy and I feel at ease knowing he is getting the stimulation he needs.”
Wendy is grateful for the opportunity to work with Barry, she’s learnt a lot about dementia in the last month and often turns to Ozcare’s Dementia Advisory and Support Service when she needs advice.
“The first few days were tough, it was emotionally draining, but now I love that Barry is so comfortable with me, he has come so far.”
“You have to have a desire to work with people living with dementia, a sense of humour and patience. Barry and I have the most amazing conversations and the moments of clarity are so rewarding - that’s why I work with Ozcare, because I care.”
Lyn’s advice to other carers is to speak up about your needs.
“You need to be persistent about what you want; be clear about your needs and expectations. I am so thankful that Ozcare have listened to what Barry and I need.”
Read more about our allied health and dementia services.