A free service offering one-of-a-kind support to thousands of WA carers of people living with dementia celebrated its 10th anniversary on Wednesday 23 June.

Amana Living’s McCusker Nurse Service was founded by the organisation in 2011 to reduce carer fatigue and, ultimately, help people living with dementia to remain at home for as long as possible. The service is part funded by the McCusker Charitable Foundation which has donated more than $1 million to the service since it began.

The McCusker Nurses are dementia experts who help families to cope with a dementia diagnosis, by providing practical advice as well as emotional support.

Stephanie Buckland, Chief Executive Officer of Amana Living, says the service has grown from supporting 100 clients in its first six months to more than 3,600 clients today.

“The majority of people with dementia are living at home, supported by their loved ones. It can be a confusing and lonely journey to navigate, and carers often find themselves feeling lost, stressed and isolated.

“This is made worse by the fact they are waiting months and sometimes years for any kind of government-funded support via a home care package, and struggle to find respite.

“Our goal is to empower the carer by providing a one-stop shop that is tailored to their situation. This could include education, counselling, links to respite and carer support groups, or advice on how to cope with behaviour changes.

“By empowering the carer, we’re also helping to improve the quality of life of the person living with dementia.”

The Hon. Malcolm McCusker AC, Chairman of the McCusker Charitable Foundation, knows from his own family’s experience the importance of this service.

“My mother, Mary, suffered from dementia. She lived at home and was cared for by my father and my sister Carolyn, with the help of a nurse” Mr McCusker said.

“To care for a dementia sufferer can be (as is often said) a full-time, 24 hours a day task, placing great demands, both physical and emotional, on the carer”.

“We fully understand and appreciate the importance of a service that supports carers and enables dementia sufferers to remain living at home”.

“We are proud to support the McCusker Nurse Service in providing carers and their loved ones with the essential help they need.”

In Western Australia, there are more than 40,000 people living with dementia with the majority of them living at home. More than 91 per cent of them rely on informal carers for support. A report on the Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia predicts the number of people living with dementia will more than triple in the next 25 years.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety found that informal carers do not feel supported, with carers saying isolation is part of the deal and that stress has a huge emotional cost to the carer. In Australia, carers of people with dementia experience higher rates of depression and psychological problems.

To celebrate 10 years of service, we collated some of our favourite memories, stories and testimonials.

Learn more about how to access the McCusker Nurse Service here

About the McCusker Charitable Foundation

The McCusker Charitable Foundation supports projects focussing on medical research and improving health and education in Western Australia. The Foundation was registered as a Private Ancillary Fund with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

The McCusker family financed the construction of Amana Living’s Lady McCusker Home, as well as providing significant finance for the construction of Amana Living’s Peter Arney Homes.