The voice at the end of the phone was trembling.
“Pam, it’s Sue. I’ve just been to see Mum . . and. . well, I’m just a bit concerned. She seems to be forgetting things. I know we’ve always joked about that, but today, she couldn’t remember my name.
“I found her looking in the fridge for the teapot. She laughed it off, but honestly, I’m worried.
“Then when I got the cups out for her, she got really angry.
“It’s so not like her. She’s always been such a sweet soul, but she’s, somehow different.”
The story is fiction, but the situation is certainly not.
Statistics say there are well over a thousand people in Tamworth suffering from dementia.
“Dementia is not a disease that you can catch. It just happens. There are many different kinds and causes, but they all involve the brain shutting down before its time,” says Tamworth’s Dr Margaret Payne.
Symptoms can be arranged into three groups.
Cognitive changes like memory loss, confusion, staring, difficulty making decisions or recognising loved ones.
Functional changes in walking, talking, swallowing or incontinence. Mood changes with anxiety, withdrawal and even aggression.
So what do you do?
If you suspect someone is showing early signs of dementia, the first step is a visit to their GP, who will assess and, if necessary, advise and arrange referrals.
Last year, 140 sufferers, carers and even carers of carers turned out to hear visiting Aged Care Chaplain, Frank van der Korput bring an understanding of dementia strategies to help people live a quality life.
They went away significantly relieved and empowered with a new understanding of what was going on and how to respond more confidently and courageously.
The seminar is Friday May 4 at St. Peter’s Church, Vera St from 7pm-9.30pm. It will be repeated on the Saturday from 9.30am till noon.
Cost is just $10 and RSVP by April 30 is requested to St. Peter’s office at 6766 9304 or Margaret Payne 0419 408 863.