Bendigo carers of people with dementia to get better support

Monday 16 July

Uniting AgeWell will officially launch the Bendigo region’s first support group for carers of people with dementia at a White Hills event this Friday.

State Member for Bendigo East and Minister for Public Transport and Major Projects, Jacinta Allen, will help launch the You're Not Alone carer support group.

More than 20 local carers have already registered to be part of the group, which was established after not-for-profit aged care organisation Uniting AgeWell received a $10,000 grant from the State Trustees Foundation of Australia. 

You’re Not Alone aims to reduce stress and provide carers with the supports, practical strategies and networks they need to maintain their emotional health and wellbeing.

It is estimated more than 2000 people in the City of Greater Bendigo are living with dementia.  The vast majority (91 per cent) of people living in the community with dementia rely on an informal carer – usually a spouse or adult child – to support them.  It means there is a great need for carer support in the Bendigo area.

Uniting AgeWell’s Loddon Mallee South Community Services Program Coordinator Kerry Egan said the team was overwhelmed by interest from local carers who wanted to be part of the monthly group.

Wendy Sheldon is one of those who will benefit from the support network.  Her husband of 60 years, Laurie, has had dementia for a decade and required full-time care for the past three years.

“I can’t leave him in the house by himself, so it can be very socially isolating,” she said.

“I’ve always been very social.  I played a lot of tennis and we volunteered a lot, so things have really changed for us.”

Wendy said the support group was a good way to connect with other people and discuss shared experiences.

“Going to the support group I’m able to talk to other people with the same problems and learn how they’re handling things I’m not handling very well,” she said.

While Wendy attends the support group, Laurie engages in meaningful activities through Uniting AgeWell’s respite services.

The official launch will be held at Uniting AgeWell’s Seven Hills Respite House (25 Dundas Street, White Hills) on Friday, 20 July at 3pm. 

*You’re Not Alone carer support group was supported by a $10,000 grant from the State Trustee Australia Foundation’s 2017 Grassroots Grants program.