Barb Reid, a former legal secretary and case manager, has always had an enquiring mind. However, her life took a turn when she was diagnosed with a type of dementia that affects the frontal lobe. Today, as part of the Knox Dementia Advisory Group, Barb is using her experience to help others while navigating her own journey with dementia.
Dementia Action Week aims to reduce stigma and discrimination against those living with dementia and their caregivers. For Barb, the diagnosis brought her world and her family’s world crashing down. It took her time to regain her footing and accept her new reality. She realized that she had a lot to say and that she could make a difference by joining the Dementia Advisory Group.
The Knox Dementia Advisory Group played a vital role in the development and implementation of the Knox Dementia Friendly strategy. With an estimated 3,219 residents currently living with dementia in Knox, this number is projected to reach 8,000 by 2058. In July 2023, the Knox Dementia Friendly Action Plan was adopted by the Council. This plan will guide the council in creating a more dementia-friendly community.
Council collaboration with Dementia Australia has been instrumental in building awareness, understanding, and acceptance of dementia. This partnership aims to ensure that individuals with dementia can continue to participate actively in their communities. Barb emphasizes the importance of support, especially for older individuals who may not have a strong support system or financial security. She believes that there should be a designated place where those diagnosed can seek guidance and find support without feeling ashamed.
Barb considers herself fortunate to have received an early diagnosis. Initially, fear and the absence of her husband caused her to suppress her condition. However, she encourages others to seek help when they suspect something is wrong. Seeking professional assistance is crucial, even if the thought of diagnosis and treatment may be distressing.
Dementia encompasses various types, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and Lewy body disease. While it is more common in individuals over the age of 65, anyone can develop dementia. In Australia, it is the second leading cause of death overall and the leading cause of death for women.
If you or someone you know requires information or support for dementia, contacting [email protected] or calling 9298 8000 can provide helpful resources and information packs.
– Dementia Action Week: A Personal Story of Resilience and Advocacy (source article)