In 2015 my Dad, Jim, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. When my Mum said to me one day, “I don’t know what to do,” I decided to quit my communications career in construction because I needed to know what to do so I could communicate it to others impacted by dementia.
The foundation of dementia care is understanding brain change to a level of competency that means we see care from the other person’s brain’s point of view. For the industry to achieve this we’re going to need to be willing to get uncomfortable, be brave, learn new things and sometimes fail.
While Melbourne was locked down, I got busy building connections and knowledge in dementia care. I’ve completed a Diploma in Dementia Care at the University of Tasmania, I’ve become a board member of Caladenia Dementia Care, I continue to work with Dementia Australia and I’ve become a qualified Trainer & Assessor so I can teach Unit CHCAGE005 through a new Positive Approach® to Care lens. That is that dementia is a brain change and it requires effective care partner communication to achieve a positive experience for everyone.
There are those that say and those that do, this is what I’m doing.
Tara McDonald’s passion for dementia care comes from being the secondary care partner to her father, Jim, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in late 2015 at 66 years old. Tara is a dementia advocate in her own right and is the Australian representative and Mentor for Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care model. She also continues to fly from Melbourne to Brisbane whenever she can to visit her dad, who she and her family decided to move to Queensland to receive full-time care because there was no appropriate for him in Melbourne.