A dementia diagnosis can bring up many emotions; uncertainty, fear, anxiety. The nature of the disease and the stigma still attached to it means people often don’t know where to go for advice or support.

Thankfully, Amana Living has been able to help thousands of Western Australian families navigate the emotional and practical considerations of a dementia diagnosis through the McCusker Nurse Service.

The service is now in its ninth year. Its ongoing presence in the community is thanks to our dedicated staff and the generosity of The McCusker Charitable Foundation which continues to co-fund the service with Amana Living. This financial support from the Foundation has allowed us to provide free education, counselling and support services to family members of people living with dementia.

One family that has benefited from the McCusker Nurse Service is Cherie Kaptein and her father, Jack. Cherie and McCusker Nurse Karen Malone trained as registered nurses together, so when Jack's dementia began, Cherie turned to Karen for advice.

As Jack’s dementia progressed, Karen spoke to Cherie about the support available which is when the Kaptein family sought formal help from the McCusker Nurse Service. They’ve now used the service for the past five years.

Cherie told us: “What’s beautiful about the McCusker Nurse Service is that it is an amalgamation of knowledge of all the different support options available. It’s like having a one stop shop for advice and guidance. It’s been great to talk to someone who is so knowledgeable and can help point you in the right direction.”

Cherie credits the McCusker Nurse Service for helping the family get support services in place to enable Jack to continue living in the home where he’s spent the past 33 years.

“Karen suggested we get an aged care assessment done and we’ve now got a home care package in place. Plus, Karen put us onto Amana Living’s Lefroy Day Club, which Dad now attends twice a week.”

The other aspect of the McCusker Nurse Service that Cherie appreciates is the emotional support. She said: “It helps to know that you’re not alone. Sometimes you go through a range of emotions but talking to the McCusker Nurse makes you realise there are other people experiencing the same thing. It also removes the guilt of asking for help. You simply can’t do it all on your own.”

We are grateful that the support of The McCusker Charitable Foundations enables us to keep providing this unique service to help Western Australians live well dementia, while ensuring their families receive essential support.

Learn more about the McCusker Nurse Service.