This is branded content for Dementia Australia.
In 2023 it's not uncommon to have a loved one or someone you know that has been affected by dementia. It's a cruel disease, and the second leading cause of death in Australia, with approximately 487,500 Australians currently diagnosed.
Dementia can affect your thinking, memory and behaviour. It has the power to not only change your life but also the lives of those around you. Despite dementia having the potential to be diagnosed to anybody at any time, the risk does increase with age.
Age, genes, health and lifestyle are all major factors. Over the age of 65, dementia is diagnosed in almost one in 10 people, and over the age of 85, it affects three in 10 people.
Events such as Memory Walk & Jog are the perfect opportunity to get you and your community involved, to help raise funds and awareness for Dementia Australia.
Families and friends of loved ones diagnosed with dementia - and some people who have been diagnosed themselves - are taking part across the country. A nationwide venture with everybody racing towards the common goal - to raise as many funds and awareness as possible.
One such family is the Heynes in Adelaide. Brother and sister duo, Carl and Sarah, are part of a team called Dad's Army. Their father, Garry, is living with dementia and is the driving cause for his family to participate.
"Dementia can be an incredibly overwhelming journey for the person who has been diagnosed and for everyone involved. I think that's why when my sister found MW&J, she jumped at the chance to sign up for a community going through a similar experience," Carl said.
"What I found was that it wasn't just Dad's Army on the day, it was a thousand people that I felt connected to.
"Being a self-confessed introvert, I relished the chance to connect with like-minded people, share my experience about my dad and hear about their experiences with their family members."
For the James family in Western Sydney, they're still adjusting to a new way of living, when at the age of 57, Peter was diagnosed with dementia.
"Each day is a learning curve, and you think you've worked it out and you come to the next day and it's all different again. If you try to be more organised then that doesn't work, take it simpler and that doesn't work," Cathy James said.
"We take it day by day, wake up in the morning feeling hopeful, go to bed exhausted and then do it all over again.
Cathy said she owes a lot of gratitude to Dementia Australia and her NDIS support worker, who have helped their family since the very beginning of Peter's journey.
"Having somebody there that you can just give a call who knows what's going on and understands is just priceless. Your friends and family are there, but having someone professional, they get it," Cathy said.
The early signs of dementia can be very subtle, and may not be immediately obvious. Some symptoms include:
It is essential to talk to your doctor when symptoms first appear.
From the events held nationwide, the funds raised will go towards providing services around Australia to people impacted by the disease, offering education and information to the aged-care sector, as well as research to help prevent or cure dementia.
For more information about dementia or how you can contribute, go to dementia.org.au.
You can also sign up to take part in Memory, Walk & Jog events across the country.
To find out what is happening in your region visit memorywalk.com.au.
This is branded content.