EVERY morning Harold McKenzie would walk Lake Wendouree, no matter the weather, before grabbing a copy of the newspaper and continuing about his day.
The lake, Mr McKenzie's favourite place in Ballarat, was where his granddaughters felt would be a fitting place to create a Dementia Australia-endorsed memory walk in his honour.
Brittany and Tahlia Rose want to spark awareness and talk for dementia support in the community in a bid to help break down stigma for the disease. They are inspired by the likes of Meg Curnow, whose mum Wilma has early on-set dementia, in making a difference and starting important discussions.
Pa was a happy, jovial person and charitable as well. When someone has dementia, everyone in the family is affected.Brittany Rose
"The walk will hopefully create conversations for all the things you can do to help support carers, friends and family," Brittany said. "...We want people to know they can go on the Dementia Australia website for help, including how to interact with people who are affected by dementia - it could be hard for my friends to know what to say when talking about Pa.
"Most of all, it is about learning to be more patient."
More than 3,100 Ballarat people are living with dementia. This is projected to increase to almost 4,300 Ballarat people in the next decade and to 7,000 by 2058, according to Dementia Australia. Dementia is the second biggest cause of death in Australia.
Mr McKenzie was diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer's in the later years of his life before he died mid-last year.
His tight-knit small family acted as carers for as long as they could until forced to put him in residential care.
The Dementia Australia helpline was their key support link in navigating care, emotions and relationship with a loved one.
Brittany said speaking about dementia was so important. In her cafe job, Brittany got talking with Meg Curnow about her golfing fundraiser for dementia services earlier this month.
From there, Brittany has organised a near-sold out trivia night to fundraise for Dementia Australia at The Golfers Lounge, run by the Curnows to add to the walk.
All are encouraged to join the Memory Walk, which starts opposite Loreto College at Lake Wendouree on April 13, from 9am.
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