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Members of the Queanbeyan
Carer Support Group enjoyed
a literary lunch with Associate
Professor Lee-Fay Low, Dementia
Advisor Libby Smith and
Queanbeyan City Council Mayor
Tim Overall at the Queanbeyan
Kangaroo Club in February.
Author of Live and Laugh with
Dementia, Lee-Fay spoke about
her book and her research into
aged care facilities. She discussed
valuing and empowering people
with dementia, and shared
activities to help engage people
with dementia more effectively.
Libby discussed the Dementia
Advisory Service working
throughout South East NSW
and the capacity to support
people with dementia living in
rural communities. Libby also
spoke about raising awareness
for dementia and participating
in community education in local
Queanbeyan City Council
Mayor Tim Overall said he learnt
a lot about dementia as a result
of the event. He commented that
he now realised how many areas
of a person’s life are impacted by
dementia, beyond just memory
loss. Tim purchased a copy of
Live and Laugh with Dementia,
which he intends to donate to the
Queanbeyan Library once he has
finished reading it.
The event was made possible
by funding through the Community
Development and Support
and Queanbeyan City Council.
Guests included service
providers, ACAT representatives,
a Parkinson’s Support Group, GPs
and carers from towns across the
southeast NSW region.
Fifty consumers attended this year’s Consumer Summit at Parliament House in
March to represent the more than 342,000 Australians currently living with dementia.
The consumers gathered to voice their needs to politicians and to insight action on
Alzheimer’s Australia National CEO Carol Bennett said the Summit was an important
platform for consumers to advocate for themselves. “It provides an opportunity for
consumers, as users of health and aged care services, to voice their concerns about
ways to improve the system to better support their needs.”
“T hese improvements to our health system need to be addressed now so that
our country has the ability to cope with the growing number of people with dementia,”
The consumers presented a clear message to parliamentarians about the need for
community awareness and programs to reduce the fear, stigma and social isolation that
commonly follows a diagnosis of dementia.
They called for an expansion of the Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program
to include people with dementia of all ages in order to help navigate the complex
pathways to service provision that currently exist.
One of the NSW consumers living with younger onset dementia, Vicki Noonan,
raised the urgent need for expanded dementia-specific services, particularly for those
with younger onset dementia. “ T he community needs to understand that people with
dementia have unique care needs. This is even more important for people like me who
live with dementia and are under the age of 65,” she said.
UK Dementia Friends campaign advocate Gina Shaw, who also lives with younger
onset dementia, discussed the outcomes of the program in the UK, which has generated
much needed community awareness around dementia and has supported people with
dementia by assisting them to live well in their communities.
Alzheimer’s Australia National President Graeme Samuel said it was critical to hear
from those directly impacted about what is working and what is not. “Over the past
two days we have heard from people who are at the coalface of navigating the
support and services available for those living with dementia.”
Consumer Summit delegate Anne Pietsch said: “It has been heartening to know that
we are being included in the conversation about decisions that will directly impact us.”
You can access the recommendations included in the presentation at the
Alzheimer’s Australia NSW website. E: fightdementia.org.au/National-
NSW Consumer Summit delegates Helen James (left), Graeme Noonan, Vicki Noonan,
David Doig and Pauline Doig with Alzheimer’s Australia NSW Ambassador Ita Buttrose.
Associate Professor Low (right)
19/05/15 4:26 PM
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