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Lee makes a new start

Diagnosed with younger onset dementia at the age of 57, Adelaide mother of three Lee Martin found herself without work and unable to drive. Afraid to go out by herself, she became isolated and depressed.

Two years on, things have turned around for Lee, whose artwork is part of a visual art exhibition in Adelaide.

‘Remember My Story’ is the result of an eight-month series of workshops run by The Art Bus Australia​ in collaboration with ACH Group​’s Tailor Made Service and Alzheimer’s Australia SA​.

Workshops run by professional artists focused on drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography and sharing stories. It also involved excursions to The Art Gallery and Botanic Gardens.

Lee said she has loved being part of the group.

“I didn’t even think I could do art, but I love it, especially pottery – it’s awesome,” Lee said. “It’s been great making friends here and meeting these wonderful artists.”

After her diagnosis Lee’s neurologist suggested she contact ACH Group, a leader in innovative dementia services.

ACH Group runs a Tailor Made Service to support for people living with younger onset dementia or cognitive impairment under the age of 65, their families and supporters. Services are ‘tailor made’ to keep people out and about, physically active and connected to the community.

Today Lee takes part in a weekly golf, lawn bowls and art classes. ACH Group is helping Lee to access NDIS funds to help in the costs associated with having her King Charles Cavalier TK trained as an assistance dog.

Other programs offered under the Tailor Made Service include walking, fishing, computing, choir and tailored excursions.

The Art Bus co-founder Claire Harris said she was inspired to run the Remember My Story program by a friend who was diagnosed with younger onset dementia aged in his 40s.

“Through this program we can offer the opportunity to learn new skills, to create and share and exploring our imaginations through the visual world is very rewarding. We’ve learnt a lot together in this program.”

Remember My Story was made possible through Arts South Australia​ Community Arts and Cultural Development Project Funding.

The exhibition is on at the Eastwood Community Centre until Tuesday December 12.

Find out more about ACH Group’s Tailor Made Service here.