FOR eight years, Phyl and Alf Fernihough dedicated their lives to helping others as Salvation Army volunteers.
The pair led a team of 200 volunteers who provided hot meals and refreshments to police officers and emergency service workers during major crime incidents such as murder investigations, missing persons cases and bushfires.
Now, they are about to get a helping hand of their own.
Phyl was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease four years ago and on November 4, the Ferndale resident will meet with family and friends to take part in the Alzheimer’s WA’s Walk to Remember fundraising event.
Mr Fernihough said his wife had always aimed to help others and it was heart-warming to know the favour was now being returned.
“She certainly needs the support now. She can’t respond, but deep down, I know she realises it and appreciates it,” he said.
Their son Ross Fernihough said the last few years had been tough on the family, but echoed his father’s sentiments.
“Dad and my sister remain the main care givers, mum is in a nursing home and dad spends three to four hours every day with her,” he said.
“It’s a bit of a struggle, but we get through.
“It’s good to know we’ve got the support of the people, all of a sudden she needs them and it’s good to know they’re here to help.”
He said Dementia Awareness Month, which runs through September, was an important time to talk about Alzheimer’s and Alzheimer’s WA had been supportive in helping his family come to grips with the realities of the disease.