Ozcare’s Dementia Advisory and Support Service (DASS) will be working hard during September to raise awareness about living well with dementia as part of Dementia Awareness Month.
The annual event is an initiative of Alzheimer’s Australia, and this year’s theme is ‘You are not alone’. Everyone is encouraged to attend local events to learn more about dementia, and what we can all do to support people living with dementia.
A BBQ on the beach in Cairns will be the focus of Dementia Awareness Month for two social groups for people with dementia, facilitated by the DASS adviser for the Cairns region, Britta Hollamby. Other advisers will be involved in running workshops on dementia in retirement complexes and local libraries – as far afield as Emerald and Longreach. Advisers will also contribute to a community brain health event and an international community café.
The aim of all these efforts to raise awareness about dementia is to show that it is possible for people with dementia to live well, to be valued members of their community, to continue lifelong interests and friendships. For so long, there has been a stigma associated with dementia – not talking about it, not naming it.
But efforts around the world to promote a more positive view of life with dementia – often spearheaded by people with dementia themselves – have stepped up. Now, ‘dementia-friendly communities’ is one way of describing places where everyone – from shopkeepers to library assistants, bus drivers and school teachers – is working to create more supportive communities for people with dementia. Training programs for bus drivers and bank tellers, reworking signage for city centres based on feedback from people with dementia, and sharing information online about dementia-friendly retail outlets are all examples of how to make places more ‘dementia-friendly’.
We know that more than 60,000 Queenslanders are living with dementia right now. They need to know they are not alone – and this campaign is one way to show that.
To find out more about Dementia Awareness Month events in your area, contact your local DASS dementia adviser on 1800 692 273.
Pictured: DASS advisor Shilpi Jishtu pictured with Ozcare client Doug at Doug’s local library, which he attends regularly.