Janice and Daryl: support for early onset dementia
When Janice developed early onset dementia in her late fifties, Daryl had no hesitation in retiring from his business to care for her.
They had enjoyed nearly 43 years together working in their fruit orchard on the central coast, serving with the rural fire service, and enjoying semi-rural life with their children.
Daryl moved the family down from the mountain area where they lived on a property closer to town and devoted himself to caring for Janice. Ill health in the family and the advancing of Janice's dementia have put a lot of strain on the family unit. But Daryl and his son Steve face the challenges with courage and good humour. At the heart of everything is their total devotion to Janice. "As far as we're concerned, it's a matter of whatever it takes, whatever she needs. The hardest thing is that she can't tell us what she's feeling. We just don't really know how to best help her."
HammondCare have been supporting her family for about three years now. We provide regular high care support in the home and extensive respite. Pastoral care is also in place to provide extra support with the health issues the family is facing.
Daryl and Steve have maintained a positive attitude throughout all of this, and every new change results in them taking it all in their stride and treating it as a challenge that they need to address one step at a time. They are extremely grateful for all that we do for them, and are open to any suggestions that will assist in helping them care for Janice.
New initiatives that make a difference
HammondCare has been developing a pilot project to examine ways that new technology can lift some of the huge burden that carers like Daryl and Steve have to carry day in, day out, all year. Daryl, Janice and Steve were one of the first families to be involved in the project and were enthusiastic from the start to look at anything that would assist them in their caring role.
They have a number of initiatives in place, including a hydraulic bed leg lifter, and an auto car seat turnout. These initiatives have been very well received and they have made a huge difference. The hydraulic leg lifter helps Daryl ease Janice from a standing position, onto the bed and then helps him swivel her round into a position where she can lie down on the bed.
Her condition has reduced her mobility to the point where that process, and the reverse to help Janice up in the morning, is almost beyond Daryl. The electric powered swivelling car seat offers a similar solution, helping Janice in or out of the car. It had become so difficult that Daryl had stopped taking Janice out. But just being able to get in the care and drive into town has been the biggest step forward - for Daryl, it means being reconnected to the community again.
Daryl and Steve are very honest and open about what they are going through and are always happy to talk about how they feel and how they are managing. To us they are an inspiration, every day.