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A Legacy Of Love

Story: Brooke Jacobson | Photo: Pete Johnson
Published On : Jan 21, 2024
A Legacy Of Love
Redcliffe social worker Lisa Twigg has published a book aimed at celebrating her late father, Bob, as well as educating the community about a growing health problem.

More than 400,000 Australians live with dementia, and it is currently the second leading cause of death in the nation.

Lisa’s book, titled 80 Years Without Dementia, was published last year and documents her family’s journey with the disease.

“The motivation for writing the book was two-fold; I wanted to leave a legacy for Dad and now that he has gone, I feel fantastic that we have that legacy there,” Lisa said.

“And secondly, I was trying to reframe dementia. When he was diagnosed, so many people said, ‘Oh I’m so sorry, that’s terrible’, but he was still my Dad and I didn’t feel any different about him.

“He was diagnosed at 81, so before that he didn’t have dementia. I wanted to reframe the thinking around it – you can still have gratitude and hope.”

Lisa added there was a “lot of fear” in the community around a dementia diagnosis.

“With Dad, we were seeing not just memory loss, but his capacity for processing things had changed,” she said.

“By the time he was diagnosed, it was a relief really and we knew what we were dealing with.

“I felt like I needed to find out what to expect, how to deal with it, and I had to educate Mum as well.

“I did a couple of courses at the University of Tasmania – Understanding Dementia and Preventing Dementia – and they were so helpful.

“I had to understand what the risk factors were for Dad, and what our trajectory as a family would be.”

Lisa added the decision to put her father into full-time residential care was one of the hardest her family had ever made.

“It was a very difficult time, and I got through it by thinking if it was Mum with dementia, she would be saying to Dad, ‘Just put me somewhere I can be looked after – and don’t forget to visit’,” she said.

Lisa and her family said their final farewells to Bob a few weeks before Christmas last year.

“We were able to bring Dad home and we had five days with him, and he passed away peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his family,” Lisa said.

“And we couldn’t ask for more than that.”

Lisa’s book, 80 Years Without Dementia is available for $19.96 via lisa@eightyyearswithoutdementia.com

It’s also available as either an e-book or a hard copy at Amazon.