Tonight Insight hears stories of sacrifice and success from people living with dementia, and the families that support them.
Amongst the guests is Doris Younane, recently seen on Party Tricks, talking about her mother.
The number of Australians living with dementia is set to soar in the coming years.
As the group gets larger many people with dementia are finding their own way through memory loss, determined to let their own personalities shine through.
They are fighting what is now Australia’s second biggest killer, ahead of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases, recent ABS data shows.
The program asks whether it is possible to lead a normal life with dementia and hears how humour could help balance out the despair of living with this debilitating brain disorder.
Elmer and Joan Anderson
Elmer: “Between the doctors, Joan and myself, we decided that, yes, I would go to a facility when they felt it was necessary so that I wouldn’t harm my dear wife … And that is exactly what happened, I had an episode, we went to the doctors and he said ‘it’s time’.”
Joan: “Our relationship’s an awful lot better because now Elmer seems to have accepted what’s going on and so because of that, the anger is not there as much and he is … a much nicer person.”
“I mean the behaviour changes every day and mum went through some very, very aggressive, difficult times, but we just kept role playing, playing with her. So that we took the sort of anxiety out of mum, I suppose.”
“I find with dementia, anything you can enjoy helps you with the condition.”
“It is so, so fundamental now that we show people in the community what it is that dementia is really all about and importantly what it’s not about. That people can live in the community and be very productive members of the community for so many more years and that you shouldn’t actually fear someone having dementia or look at them with any sense of disassociation or stigma such as poor mum had to endure when she, you know, was diagnosed and when she started to show the symptoms.”
Tuesday at 8.30pm on SBS ONE.