Services provide hope
EVEN with the daily struggles of living with dementia, Bill and Valma Wynhorst still manage to keep a smile on their faces.
“Believe me I have my days where I cry lots and you can’t help it, but we have to laugh about some of things he does sometimes,” Mrs Wynhorst said.
Eight years ago, the Swanbourne couple’s world was turned upside down when Mr Wynhorst was diagnosed with the isolating disease, which affects more than 30,000 West Australians.
Now, the once very active father of four struggles to speak, read and write, depending solely on Mrs Wynhorst, family and the services provided by Alzheimer’s WA.
“It can be terribly frustrating – I don’t think you can simply explain to people how difficult it is,” Mrs Wynhorst said.
“I am lucky that I’ve got support, but so many others don’t and I think that if I’d stayed on my own with him I feel as though I would have gone crazy.”
Alzheimer’s Australia WA’s inaugural Dementia Awareness Month was officially launched last week at the Art Gallery of WA.
WA chief executive Rhonda Parkin said the campaign aimed to raise awareness, offer support and reduce the stigma associated with the disease.
“Dementia Awareness Month is a time for people to educate themselves on a disease that sadly will impact, directly or indirectly, most members of our community at some point in their lives,” Ms Parkin said.
Events during Dementia Awareness Month include Dress Down for Dementia.
Valma and Bill Wynhorst hope Dementia Awareness Month will offer support to other families living with the disease.