Andy Creighan has been working as a volunteer gardener with Chorus, formerly Volunteer Taskforce, since 2015 and was recently nominated by his colleagues for Volunteer of the Year 2018 – People’s Choice.
The People’s Choice Award celebrates an individual who is an ‘unsung hero’ in the community and who has enhanced the lives of others through their volunteering.
In true fashion, Andy was very humbled by his nomination and explains,
“Volunteering has really helped me as I have younger onset dementia and it gets me out of the house. It connects me to the community and I am respected by my peers and other volunteers,”
It has had a very positive impact on me, I feel happy and I like that I am giving back to the local community. I really like the jobs we do and the people I work with too.”
Andy was diagnosed with younger onset dementia in March 2016. The diagnosis was a relief for Andy who had struggled with memory problems for a number of years. Once he had his diagnosis he said he was going to “make the best of it”.
His attitude changed from a glass half-empty person to a glass nearly full.
He and his wife Jackie utilise a number of Alzheimer’s WA services including the men’s walking group south of the river, group exercise in the water at Melville Aquatic Centre, the south of the river friendship group, social support to attend speech therapy, and have planned respite at Mary Chester House after attending the recent Open Day in April.
Andy is busy every day and is leading a fulfilling life. He really is “living well” with younger onset dementia.
Andy currently spends two full days a week volunteering with Chorus and his work lead to him being featured in Chorus’s show garden at the recent Perth Garden Festival. Andy’s photo and story were included on a banner in the garden. Chorus won Silver for their ‘Kaleidoscope’ show garden this year, designed with input from Alzheimer’s WA to be a welcoming, inclusive and joyful space for people with cognitive impairment.
Find out more about Chorus by visiting their website. If you have any questions about the support services you can access through Alzheimer’s WA, call our Customer Support Team on 1300 66 77 88.