Before dementia entered Judy and Ted Kelso’s life, Judy remembers her husband as an active person and ‘jack of all trades’, who took care of the cooking and housework while she worked, reports the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.
Now, Ted struggles with simple daily tasks and rarely leaves Judy’s side. “The person I have been married to and loved for over 55 years has lost so many of his living, communication, memory and social skills. The grief from these losses, at times, can be overwhelming,” Judy, from Mooroolbark in Melbourne, says.
And while nothing can ease the sadness of what dementia has robbed from them as a couple, there is some respite for Judy from the challenges of caring for Ted, aged 81, on a day-to day basis.
Ted has been visiting Carinya Respite Service, run by not-for-profit aged and disability services organisation Villa Maria, in Lysterfield for overnight stays since 2009.
The dementia-specific, planned recreational and overnight respite service for people living with dementia in the Eastern region is also an important service for their carers.
“The Carinya team has been most helpful in that when Ted is there I can relax without the challenges of caring 24 hours a day,” Judy says. “When I had a particularly bad time caring for Ted earlier this year a friend offered me a two week holiday and Carinya provided much needed and welcome respite during that time. I came home refreshed and was able to continue to care for Ted at home.”
In 2010, Carinya moved from Wantirna to a new, larger home in Lysterfield to cater for the growing demand for dementia services within the local community. The need is a widely-reported and national one, with the number of people with dementia in Australia set to soar from 280,000 to almost 1 million by 2050 (Alzheimer’s Australia).
The move to Lysterfield has allowed Villa Maria to begin plans for a dementia-specific sensory garden to be enjoyed by the 300 people with dementia and their families who access Carinya each year.
Sensory gardens are designed to stimulate the five senses and improve people’s emotional and physical wellbeing, particularly for those with dementia who may experience anxiety and stress.
FULL STORY Sensory garden brings joy to people with dementia (CAM)