Just the immediate organisation of specialist referrals and appointments can feel overwhelming before we even get time to start planning for the months and years ahead:
How can our family adjust to changes in daily life and find the right support at the right time?
These are important questions to look into early, while your loved one with dementia is able to make decisions as to how they want their affairs taken care of in the future and by whom.
Who can make decisions?
There may come a time when a person with dementia will no longer be able to make life decisions. Families will need to plan ahead for this time and discuss early what will be involved and what the legalities are.
There are two basic types of decisions - those concerning your finances, and those concerning daily life, including medical treatment, where you live and who will be taking care of you.
If at some point you lose the capacity to make these decisions someone else will need to make them for you. While you still have capacity you can select those people yourself, a “Power of Attorney” for your financial decisions and a “Guardian” for your support and daily living decisions.
“Kingsford Legal Centre can provide free legal advice to people with dementia or their family members and carers, if they live in the Randwick and former Botany Bay council areas. Kingsford Legal Centre can advise people with dementia who still have the capacity to make decisions about appointing an Enduring Attorney and an Enduring Guardian to look after their interests when they lose that capacity,” says Natalie Ross, Solicitor and Clinical Supervisor at Kingsford Legal Centre. “We can also advise family members and carers of a person with dementia who can no longer make decisions and needs someone to manage their finances or arrange suitable care, accommodation and medical treatment. You can contact Kingsford Legal Centre on 93859566.”
Finances and assets
Trust is essential when it comes to advocating for your financial interests, but it is important to formalise who has which powers to make decisions on your behalf.
“An important part of the overall plan on how to cope with declining health is addressing financial and estate questions”, says John Corkill, Financial Planner, Bridges Financial Services Pty Limited:
“Do you have your financial assets invested appropriately to suit your needs for the years ahead? If there comes a time when you need more than what home care provides, do I have a preferred care facility that is affordable given my financial means?
“If you and/or your family need help with any of these matters you should seek professional advice whether it be your local bank or credit union, accountant, solicitor or financial adviser. If you are not sure who to contact speak to a trusted source who may be able to refer you to an appropriate professional”, John
There are many ways to go about planning your finances and some will leave you with more security and options than others.
Help and support along the way
The first weeks and months following diagnosis are hard as families grieve and come to terms with the new challenges and the unknown ahead. But there is help and support.
South Eastern Community Connect offers both flexible in-home carer respite for those looking after a family member with dementia, as well as the Cottage Day Centre for those living with dementia, providing therapy, social interaction and hope for the future.
“The Cottage is a dementia specific day centre that runs from Monday to Friday. When someone is first diagnosed with dementia, they can sometimes continue their usual hobbies and interests,” says Amy Drewe, The Cottage Coordinator.
“If dementia progresses to a level where some extra stimulation and socialisation is required – The Cottage can provide structured activities and companionship for people living with dementia as well as some respite for their carers or loved ones, when applicable.
“To access The Cottage, people have an assessment to evaluate whether the program will be suitable for them. This assessment can be done with a nurse or friend, or a medical professional or community worker.
“Various questions about communication, home life, self care, leisure and hobbies and financial abilities as well as an in depth conversation about past employment and social history help determine whether the prospective client is within the low-
medium range of dementia and how they would fit in with some other like-minded clients.
Families of clients at The Cottage often report a great shift in mood and behaviour after their loved one has attended The Cottage not only on the day, but in their general wellbeing,” Amy says.
More tips to help you prepare
By Gerard Howard, SECC Community Builders
‘Entertainment with a message’ was the key to a very successful Positive Ageing Celebration held at Eastlakes Community Centre on 13th June, 2017.
South Eastern Community Connect partnered with Bayside Council to host a program that kept the packed audience enthralled. At times people were left thoughtful and reflective, at other times they were left laughing with delight.
The Positive Ageing Celebration was based around the United Nations World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Guest Speaker, Vicky Johnston, Deli Women and Children’s Centre, spoke on this theme, outlining the importance of maintaining the dignity of the person against various types of elder abuse.
The gathering then settled into a brief meditation session, followed by an art expression activity conducted by the very creative Maria Rosa Casanova, who shares her artistic flair voluntarily in the local area.
Next, the Older Women’s Network Theatre Group gave an engaging performance which highlighted in a very entertaining way, the themes of elder abuse and the dignity of ageing.
Patricia Lynch, a Physiotherapist from the Area Health Service, then demonstrated some key gentle exercises which assist with maintaining balance and preventing falls in the elderly. These exercises are part of the Stepping On Falls Prevention initiative, a free program which is available locally.
Illiana’s Belly Dance group then injected much energy into the program, so much so that many in the audience got to their feet & danced to the exotic rhythms of the music. Illiana emphasized the importance of remaining active and healthy as we all age.
A series of lucky door prizes were then drawn, followed by a delicious lunch being served. This gave the audience an opportunity to visit information tables staffed by local services including Kingsford Legal Centre, Ability Links, the Police, South Eastern Community Connect and Bayside Council.
All in all, June 13th in Eastlakes did indeed see a very Positive Ageing Celebration!
If you recently had the Rabbitoh’s Aaron Gray and his mum Julie knocking on your door this weekend, don’t be surprised: Aaron is taking a break from training to score some points for the seniors in our community.
The arrival of My Aged Care is a major change to the aged care sector, with clients, not-for-profit organisations and commercial providers still finding their way around the new system.
By September 2017, in keeping with the changes in our sector, South Eastern Community Connect will be adding Home Care Packages to its services.
Through your Home Care Package the Government pays for the services you need to live independently at home. The choice of services is yours so you can get all the support you need and only the support you need in a way that suits your personal situation.
As part of National Volunteer Week we took our volunteers out for lunch at the Randwick Golf Club on 11 May 2017. 35 volunteers enjoyed the food, the company and the venue.
“South Eastern Community Connect could not operate without our devoted and generous volunteers, and occasions like this give us the opportunity to say thank you to them,” says Volunteer Coordinator Sue Ohanian. “I always like to mark the occasion with a certificate and a small gift for each volunteer, “ she adds.
It is the personal friendships in our volunteer community that make this event so special every year, and everyone looks forward to catching up in a relaxed setting.
Volunteering is, however, so much more than just a feelgood activity. A recent press release from the Prime Minister contains some interesting statistics about volunteering:
“… About one third of the Australian population undertake volunteering making an estimated annual contribution of $290 billion to the nation’s economic and social good. According to a study by economists at John Hopkins University, the economic value of volunteer work is 21% of government consumption expenditure – the largest share of any developed country. Only Africa at 23 % has a higher level of volunteer work as a proportion of government spending”.
Thank you to you all!
"I go shopping many times a week, and I get the best reward points,” says Deb, and she's not talking about a rewards card or fly buys. The social support worker takes people to the shopping centres who would otherwise not be able to go.
Community grows stronger through the hundreds of little and big actions people take every day. Browse this list for things you or your family have participated in in the past year or so, and pick some new ones for 2017.
Cooking need not be a chore, and healthy food can be tasty. Liliana Martinez is here to prove it! The experienced cook provides the latest addition to our food services, an in-home meal preparation services for the elderly and people living with disabilities.