Veronicas: ‘We didn’t get that with our mum’
THE Veronicas singers Lisa and Jessica Origliasso have opened up about the fear and isolation involved in their mother Colleen's battle with dementia.
With their mother now receiving 24-hour care in Brisbane after four years of misdiagnosis, the pop duo were yesterday named ambassadors for Dementia Australia at an event at Parliament House in Canberra, supporting education and early diagnosis "because we didn't get that with our mum".
"It's a difficult thing for anyone going through that diagnosis; that range of emotions that their body has failed them in some way and not understanding how," the sisters told Confidential. "It was very scary and it can feel isolating."
The 33-year-old twin sisters said Colleen had been misdiagnosed with anxiety and depression for four years before she received the diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia, one of the most common progressive types of dementia, and progressive supranuclear palsy.
"I know mum had a hard time bringing it up with us because there's a lot of fear and confusion," they said. "She felt like there was something more going on."
"We as 33-year-old women were very under-educated and that has really been the driving force for us to be ambassadors."
"It's not something that's treatable … but our mum is a sassy, beautiful, fiery, passionate and hilarious woman and she doesn't lose that because of this diagnosis.
"She is now living with something that alters her mind in a way that can cause a lot of fear and discomfort … and we need to break down the stigma and shame attached to that for them."
They put their music on hold last year to spend more time with their mother, who has taken up art and is encouraging their return to the studio over the last 3 weeks.
"She's actually an incredible painter which is not something we ever knew. She's flourishing in this whole new way," they said.
"For her music is one of the biggest supports. and she is loving all the demos we are sending her."
The sisters are supporting Dementia Australia's Dementia Friend campaign, a social movement to help build awareness of dementia among the community.
"Everyone In Australia will have an association with (dementia) going forward and it's about greater compassion," they said.