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Dementia Action Week: Delma’s story

September 23, 2021
older lady op shop dementia

Almost half a million Australians are living with dementia and over 1.6 million Australians are involved in their care. Delma is a Be client located in Carins living with dementia. And thanks to the support of her family and Be, she continues to live an independent life enjoying craft and volunteering within the community.

Each Wednesday you will find Delma’s smiling face volunteering at the St Margaret’s Op Shop sorting through items, arranging displays and assisting at the register. “I look forward to my day volunteering at the op shop. It’s a lovely place to chat with other volunteers plus I like how it keeps my mind active,” said Delma.

Pauline, a volunteer driver with Be picks up Delma from her home each Wednesday to transport her to and from the op shop. Pauline and Delma have formed a beautiful friendship over the last two years and enjoy a good chat.

Delma has a wonderful sense of humour and enjoys a chat and a laugh during our trips.
Shared Pauline.

Be’s Cairns Community Coordinator Caroline and Pauline both understand the importance that as someone living with dementia, Delma enjoys continuing to do things that are meaningful to her. “Delma feels a wonderful sense of accomplishment and pride from her volunteering role with St Margaret’s Op Shop. We can see that by supporting her to take part in this volunteering role we are empowering her to continue to live independently whilst having a range of supportive measures in place to help her be successful,” said Caroline.

Delma carries a large diary with her everywhere she goes – using it to record appointments and reminders as well as noting down interesting things and conversations. “I always call Delma on Tuesday evening to confirm our Wednesday trip to the Op Shop and she immediately pops this in her diary, and she will often make notes from our chats to reflect on later,” said Pauline.

Each person living with dementia is unique and research shows that maintaining relationships and interests can help people living with dementia lead a better quality of life. Linking dementia activities to everyday skills, hobbies and interests that a person enjoyed before their dementia diagnosis can offer many rewarding benefits. With a little planning and preparation, you can help keep yourself or a loved one busy and actively engaged in meaningful activities. Learn more about that here.

op shop delma dementia

The concept for Dementia Action Week was developed by Dementia Australia in consultation with Dementia Advocates, who have a lived experience of dementia. The ‘A little support makes a big difference’ campaign demonstrates that many people living with dementia can continue to live well for many years after their diagnosis. This year, the focus will also be on supporting and celebrating carers of people living with dementia.

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