A full-time carer for her husband Rod, Lynn McGregor shares the knowledge she’s gained about dementia with others to help reduce stigma.
Lynn McGregor knew little about dementia until her husband Rod was diagnosed with younger onset dementia in 2015. Since then, she has been driven to learn as much as she can about living with the condition.
“I’m an advocate for dementia because of my husband. I knew a little about the condition before he was diagnosed, but not nearly enough,” she says.
“Of course, I would rather we didn’t travel this road. But the more I learn, the better equipped we are to continue this journey together. I want to know as much as possible and help others understand what it’s like living with dementia.”
Lynn and Rod took part in Dementia Australia’s National Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program, which delivers individualised services and support for people living with younger onset dementia, their families and carers. The program provided Rod with weekly support groups that he could attend, while also offering important support and counselling for Lynn.
Lynn helps others understand dementia by sharing her knowledge with as many people as she can.
“There is still so much stigma attached to dementia and many people just don’t know what to do,” she says.
“My husband often says people treat him differently. I want to try and remove the stigma and make people realise that he is still the same person inside.”
The biggest challenge Lynn has faced personally is isolation and loneliness.
“People say they are there for you, but in reality they are not. Family and friends have the best intentions, but most of the time we are doing this alone,” she says.
“We do have some occasional support from family and for that I am eternally grateful. More help, particularly financially, for carers would also go a long way to improving our lives”.
BECOME AN ADVOCATE
Dementia Advocates give a voice to people living with dementia and their carers. If you would like to be a Dementia Advocate, contact the Consumer Engagement Team or visit the Dementia Australia website.
E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: dementia.org.au