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Increasing the number of dementia-friendly organisations
and communities will play a vital role in supporting people with
dementia to stay active.
“An important element of any dementia-friendly community is
understanding,” Kylie says.
“If staff at the local cafe or store have an understanding of the
disease and how best to accommodate someone with it, people
with dementia are more likely to maintain connectedness.
“Members of the public also have a role to play in creating
dementia-friendly communities. If we educate ourselves and
become more aware, we are more likely to recognise the signs of
dementia and offer appropriate support when needed.”
As the prevalence of dementia continues to increase, it is vital
that people living with the disease, their families and carers,
and the wider community all take every possible step to ensure
ongoing social connectedness.
“The long held attitude that life ends following a diagnosis of
dementia could not be further from the truth,” Maria says.
“If supported by their communities, people with dementia can
continue to live a high-quality life with meaning, purpose and value.
“Our advice is to find the simple pleasures in everyday life and
learn to live in the moment. For a lot of people with dementia,
particularly in the later stages, the present is so important because
it’s all they have. The person might not remember the activities
they engaged in the next day, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t
get meaning or joy from them.”
Following a diagnosis of
dementia, Sarah found
that she was most
comfortable when she
was alone. However, she began to feel a sense of isolation
and loneliness, particularly when it came to not having
someone to talk to who might understand and empathise
with her situation.
She began to search for online support groups that
focused specifically on people living with dementia in
NSW, but couldn’t find what she was looking for. In
response she established a public Facebook community
page and private online forum.
The aim was to provide support for people living with
progressive neurocognitive disorder and its associated
conditions, as well as for carers, family members, friends
and for those who simply want to be advocates for greater
dementia awareness in the community.
Known as ‘Joining the Dots for Dementia’, the page and
forum are regularly updated with research, information
on brain health, diet, medication and any other topics that
might be of interest in relation to dementia. The closed
forum also allows members to share their thoughts, fears,
ideas and inspirations in an environment where privacy is
considered a priority and where support is given freely.
Although the page and forum were set up to provide
support to those in NSW, all people affected by dementia
are invited to join.
This initiative provides a wonderful example of how
technology can be used to support people with dementia
and ensure they remain connected, particularly to other
people in similar circumstances.
EVERY BLOKE NEEDS A SHED
Back in 2013 Alzheimer’s Australia NSW’s Every Bloke
Needs a Shed program supported men in the early
stages of dementia to access, participate and enjoy the
mateship and activities at their local Men’s Shed.
The program ran collaboratively with eight Men’s
Sheds in the Hunter region and looked at reducing the
social isolation often felt by men who have received a
diagnosis of dementia.
Peter Torenbeek, Cessnock Shed & Community
Garden President, says Men’s Sheds help by giving
men the opportunity to
mix with others.
“We’re aware that
while a dementia
diagnosis is challenging,
people can be
certain steps, and we’re
hopeful that we can
help,” Peter says.
If you or somebody
you know could benefit
from being involved in their local Men’s Shed, we
suggest visiting with a friend in the first instance, and
speaking to other members about your needs and their
To find out more about Men’s Sheds, email Stuart
Torrance on email@example.com
The St George Bank in Port Macquarie is ensuring it
serves as a place where people living with dementia are
comfortable by educating its staff.
St George Port
Manager Karen Hales
says the program means
her team will be among
the first in Australia to be
“ We’re so proud to be the nation’s first branch to begin
this program,” Karen says.
“ W hile we care about all our customers, we are
particularly connected with older members who have
banked with and trusted us for years.
“Becoming dementia-friendly is simply the right thing to
do for our elderly customers so they can access financial
services, and we can help them remain independent for
as long as possible.
“It’s an increasingly wide-ranging issue among
our community, and as we work towards our official
accreditation, we’ll be helping senior community
members establish important safeguards, like recognising
when to start or update a will, or appoint an enduring
power of attorney, all while they are still able to make
these important decisions.”
Interested in joining a group to socialise, build
support and learn alongside other people living
with dementia and their carers? Check out our
Community Events on page 17 of this issue for
groups in your area.
15/8/17 3:30 pm
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