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Intouch : In Touch Issue 78
VOLUNTEERS 12 In touch Spring 2011 www.alzheimers.org.au How does retired clinical psychologist and committed volunteer Jill Faddy describe her quarter-century with AlzNSW? “It’s been the ride of my life,” she says. “Seeing how AlzNSW has grown has been wonderful.” Jill’s involvement with AlzNSW started when she was caring for her mother with dementia in 1982, the year the organisation started. Jill joined up and attended the Randwick Botany support group as a carer. About two years later, she was asked to be the support group leader, a post she will have held continuously until her retirement from the group in September this year. Jill has also been a Director of AlzNSW from 1983-2005 and was president from 1986-88. Lending support The time has come for Jill to retire as support group leader. Jill Congratulations » Long-time and dedicated AlzNSW volunteer Dorothy Webb has been nominated for the City of Ryde 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award. Congratulations to Dorothy, and thank you for all your work. Thanks Thanks to all our dedicated volunteers; we would not be able to do what we do without you! If you would like to volunteer, contact Volunteer Coordinator Diana Waring. E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: (02) 8875 4631 remembers what she has enjoyed most about leading a carer support group: “Seeing people recognise that they are not alone with this, that they have the support of the other people in the group. “They can also learn how to cope with living with a person with dementia, so they can become skilled carers and be able to learn how to look after themselves as well.” Jill said some of the biggest challenges were helping carers to try to step back when facing a stressful situation and work out how to best deal with it, as well as deal with their own feelings. “You feel terrible and you feel hopeless, especially with some of the challenging behaviours,” Jill said. “You’re trying to understand what a person struggling with dementia is trying to communicate. It’s as though you’re both speaking different languages. “If you step back and try to understand where the person with dementia is coming from, you can help the person with dementia feel understood and valued.” Future leaders Jill also has sage advice for future support group leaders: “Learn as much as you can about dementia and how to facilitate support groups. “Listen hard before you say anything. And get support from other group leaders and professionals; it gets a bit stressful if you try to wing it alone.” While Jill, who is a life member of AlzNSW, may be retiring as leader of the support group, she is not retiring from her association with the organisation. “I think AlzNSW is a magnificent organisation,” Jill said. “Because dementia is the ‘growth industry’ we’d rather not have, more needs to be done in research as well as in how to cope with it.” Dorothy receives her certificate from Mayor Artin Etmekdjian. Listen and learn After more than 25 years volunteering for AlzNSW, Jill Faddy has learnt that the best thing a support group leader can do is listen. Solution to Sudoku on page 20 © Lovatts Publications Pty Ltd - www.lovattspuzzles.com
In Touch Issue 77
In Touch Summer 2011-12