The silent disease bringing this family closer
A SENSE of humour and feeling of connectedness are what helps Peggy Faulkner on her day-to-day battle with dementia.
The Tewantin great-grandmother said when surrounded by family she feels safe from an otherwise “lonely” place.
“I don’t know how I would be on my own,” Ms Faulkner said.
“I think I would be afraid, I don’t think I could go on my own, it’s quite a lonely place for me.”
September 16-22 marks Dementia Action Week and Ms Faulkner’s family hope to share how important a support network can be to a person living with dementia.
Ms Faulkner’s daughter, Sue Nutter, first noticed the signs of dementia in her mother, who at the time was living in Spain, last year.
“Last trip I kind of noticed there was something going on with mum, so we got them back here (to Tewantin),” Ms Nutter said.
Having overcome breast cancer five years ago and recently having been diagnosed with a tumour on her lung, Ms Nutter said her mother had her fair share of challenges already.
“Mum had all these challenges and them moving countries yet again and not knowing anything, I was looking for a kind of connection for her to meet different people who were going through a few different things.”
It was then she heard of the Dementia Cafe, a support initiative organised by NoosaCare.
“So we went to the Dementia Cafe, it was awesome,” Ms Nutter said.
“The crew there are great and they just make such a fuss of mum.”
“We go and mum just ends up having a big belly laugh and as far as I’m concerned it’s worth it.”
Ms Nutter said the group is “hugely supportive” and inclusive of the whole family.
“You can discuss how everyone is handling the situation because we all handle it in different ways.”
“It’s also trying to understand what’s going on with mum and how to support her.”
Ms Nutter said her mother has her good and bad days.
“Sometimes she goes into what she calls the twilight zone.”
“This makes people feel very vulnerable.”
Ms Nutter said the community group is also removing a “stigma” that often surrounds dementia.
“They are being proactive as well, it can be a no-no to talk about but you need to talk about it.”
“We are all humans we could all end up in the same place so having an understanding and having people there who have the empathy to help you over the challenges, because nobody knows from one day to the next.”
Ms Nutter said as a family they are focusing on making memories and using humour.
“(Mum’s) got a mischievous sense of humour.”
“She signed book for me when I left school with quotes. One of those that stood out was ‘loose everything expect your sense of humour’.
“That’s one thing when we talk about this memory loss we say at least you’ve got your sense of humour.
“It’s got us through a lot in life.”