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Mates living with dementia and photography

Jenny Potter and Rita McKechnie's husbands, Ralph and John, had a gift – they could see the world, like only a few can, through the lens of a camera.
Jenny Potter (left) and Rita McKechnie are keeping the spirit of their husbands, who lived with dementia, alive by sharing the talents of the men in a photography exhibition in their memory.
Jenny Potter (left) and Rita McKechnie are keeping the spirit of their husbands, who lived with dementia, alive by sharing the talents of the men in a photography exhibition in their memory.

While both men have passed away, their wives have decided to share their talents in a photography exhibition in their memory.

The men met when they joined a photography group in 2006, a joint venture between Alzheimer’s Australia South Australia and South Australian aged care provider, ACH Group.

Ms Potter says being part of the group kept her husband’s talent alive.

“Ralph was 55 when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and many places would not assist us because he was too young, but ACH Group came on board, not only providing the support we needed, but thinking outside of the square and supporting Ralph, John and others to remain active and involved,” Mr Potter says.

“These men loved photography and by sharing their skills and interests with each other, they were able to produce hundreds of great photographs. We selected 20 photographs for the exhibition,” she adds.

The ‘Mates living with dementia and their love of photography’ exhibition is also a fundraiser, with the sale of the photos raising funds for teamtlc – Tender Loving Carers – as well as in projects that support carers of people living with younger onset dementia.

“I was a carer for Ralph for more than 10 years. More than just honouring our husbands, Rita and I want to raise awareness of younger onset dementia and the options available for carers,” Ms Potter says.

The ‘Mates living with dementia and their love of photography’ exhibition will be held at South Australia’s Ingle Farm Shopping Centre, from 8 to 12 September 2014, until 5pm.

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