There are many benefits in living in the country, but at Gingin Uniting Church, we have become aware of a looming major community problem: Alzheimer’s and a lack of services and carer support. After some input from Rev Dr Bill Jenkins at our 5th Sunday combined churches service, we decided to take it further and offer a full-day free seminar run by Alzheimer’s Australia WA, as a community service activity. Bill is a Uniting Church minister and a psychologist who has conducted research into dementia.
There was much interest and thanks before the event, and leading up to it we have discovered several community members who have both training and/or experience with Alzheimer’s care, as well as families already struggling to cope.
On the day, 50 people arrived from as far away as Badgingarra, Perth, Woodridge and Bindoon, as well as Gingin. The seminar was great – simply explained, practical, comprehensive and included phone numbers of support agencies to contact in emergencies. But most of all, understanding of what is happening for dementia sufferers and how to approach and relate to them was very gratefully received. The Alzheimer’s Australia presenters also took back to Perth of almost total lack of services in our area. Silver Chain is the only help available and that is limited.
Alzheimer’s Australia has a staff member specifically set aside to service country areas to run ‘family and friends’ small group seminars. Maybe that is the next step if there are enough families who would appreciate that help.
For more information and to express an interest, contact Sylvia on 9575 2541.