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My Nonna has a frontotemporal dementia
I am a 16-year-old girl whose Nonna (grandma) has frontotemporal dementia. She lives with myself and my single-parent mother, who is 56.
A lot of the time, things are very stressful at home due to the nature of the situation. While she has been diagnosed since 2013 and showed symptoms way before that, Nonna’s dementia has progressed significantly and she seems to now be in the late stage. With issues like severe memory loss (including very poor short term memory), incontinence, aggression, fatigue, a complete lack of independence, and constant confusion, it can be very difficult to care for her.
My mum also has an intellectual disability and poor physical and mental health, so I have to help her a lot too. As a VCE student, things are already very stressful but caring for Nonna and helping Mum really add a lot more stress.
I would advise others in a similar situation to me to try their best to take time for themself. Personally, hanging out with friends when I can or even setting aside time for me to be alone and pursue a hobby really helps to take my mind off things and give me a break.
While being a carer is hard, I know it is a valuable experience. Caring for someone teaches empathy and time management and of course, it is very rewarding. This does not mean it is easy or simple, but it does mean there are positives to the situation.