When Benalla resident Ross Godfrey, 75, was diagnosed with mild dementia several years ago, he and his wife Pam, 69, faced a future quite different to what they had imagined.
They became isolated and stayed at home most of the time.
“As Ross is also incontinent, he would just sit in his chair and I was unable to go out as I couldn’t leave him alone,” Ms Godfrey said.
However, the couple’s quality of life has changed dramatically after receiving support from local community organisations Villa Maria Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre and Community Support North East (CSNE) 18 months ago.
Mr Godfrey has since started talking more, making jokes – and even had become motivated to take up pottery and writing classes.
“He just became absolutely absorbed with the ukulele and loves playing the instrument and singing. Joining these groups has got him off his tail and back into the land of the living,” Ms Godfrey said.
Support from CSNE to purchase a walker, shower seat and incontinence products have also been a huge help to the couple.
“There must be so many people who are out there suffering alone in similar situations because they don’t know who to turn to for support.”
Villa Maria Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre and CSNE are next month reaching out to carers, seniors and people with a disability living across Wangaratta and Wodonga regions.
The Continuing the Journey Through Life expos will provide a range of information from key disability and aged care support services. The expos will include guest speakers from a range of organisations including the Aged Care Assessment Service, Community Legal Service on Powers of Attorney and Disability Advocacy Information Service.
Villa Maria Community Engagement and Liaison worker, Sarah Weijers, said it was the second year the two organisations had united to run the expos, aiming to ensure vulnerable people out in the community were aware of services which could support them in their “journey through life”.
“Unfortunately a lot of people are not only unaware of what’s out there, but don’t classify themselves as in need of support. We are just hoping to reach out to as many people as possible and show them help is at hand.”
The first Continuing the Journey Through Life expo will be held in Wangaratta on Tuesday, 23 October at the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre, Ford St, from 10am to 3pm. The Wodonga session will be held on Thursday, 25 October at ‘The Cube’, Hovell St, Wodonga from 10am to 3pm.
Bookings must be made by 9 October for catering purposes. Contact Nadine on (03) 5722 0742 (Wangaratta) and Marcia on (02) 6055 3400 (Wodonga).