LETTER: Carer has a say on dementia

For the past four years I have been a fulltime carer for my mother who is living with dementia. The time came recently when we, as a family, made the decision to place her in a care facility providing the support I could not.

A television news report on November 21 relating to the Myall Lakes dementia rates focussed on two professionals offering advice to reduce the risks of developing this debilitating condition.

I realise there are exceptions to the rule, but if someone could offer any clarification at all, it would be welcomed.

1. Lead a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and exercise. My mother has always been extremely conscious of nutrition and after she retired she continued to play tennis up to five times a week until she fell and broke a bone in her early seventies.

She is now only 80.

2. Develop education and mind power. My mother was the dux of her school and worked in a number of highly demanding physical and intellectual industries throughout her working life.

3. Limit depression. My mother has lived through more than her fair share of tragedies and she always displayed strength and focus.

4. Be social. Involvement in sporting clubs, travel organisations, girls' groups and many other social networks meant my mother was extremely engaged in everything she could be.

If these points are the four ways in which you can reduce the risk of dementia, then what other anomaly is there in mum's life.

As I said, I understand the exception to the rule, but in the facility where my mother now lives, there are more than 10 residents who I have known throughout my life who have all of these risk factors covered over and above what could be expected.

Thank you to everyone who is trying to get inside this condition, but there appears to have been absolutely no movement or clarification and with projected statistics and statistics released recently, dementia is Australia's biggest killer.

My mother won't be around when there is a cure, but her grandchildren will.

Anthony Watts

Bold Street



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