Coast Alliance to offer dementia-friendly workshops
NEARLY 6000 people on the Central Coast are living with dementia.
The disease affects one in 10 people aged over 65, and three in 10 people aged over 85.
A staggering one in five people on the Coast is aged over 65.
Little wonder that with figures like this and the incidence of the disease increasing at such a pace that numbers are projected to rise to 14,000 by 2050, the Central Coast is working to make the community more dementia-friendly.
The newly formed Central Coast Dementia Alliance, made up of health workers, service providers, business and community leaders is organising, as one of its first activities, free workshops aimed at helping individuals, businesses and community groups understand dementia, how it impacts on people and their families, and what can be done to make their lives easier.
"With such a prevalence of dementia on the Coast, it is important that we raise awareness and reduce stigma; promote the ability of people living with dementia to retain their independence; and achieve excellence in healthcare and support,” Alliance chairperson Therese Greenlees said.
Alliance spokesperson Jodi Livesley said she hoped many local groups would take advantage of the free workshops.
"There are some really simple things we can all do to increase the quality of life for people living with dementia,” Jodi said.
For starters, the Alliance plans to map all the dementia services on the Coast so that they are as easy as possible to access when someone first receives what can be an overwhelming diagnosis of dementia.
Information sessions will also be held for staff of Westfield Tuggerah shopping centre, which is a member of the Central Coast Dementia Alliance.
"It is wonderful to see a big organisation such as Westfield Tuggerah on board, and I hope it sets an example for others,” Jodi said.
Community sessions will be held at the Mercure Kooindah Waters on Thursday, June 7, from 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm.
A second round, at the same venue, will be held on Thursday, June 21, to help organisations implement action plans.
"At the end of these second round of sessions, participants will have a practical plan of action and tools to use to help support people living with dementia to live life with meaning, purpose and value,” Ms Livesley said.
To book, go to eventbrite.com.au.
The Central Coast Dementia Alliance formed in April to improve the wellbeing of people living with memory loss and dementia on the Coast, their carers and families, with Federal Member for Dobell Emma McBride, whose father suffered from dementia, as the patron.
DEMENTIA VISITING TIPS
Visiting family and friends with dementia is important for their emotional wellbeing.
Establish a visiting ritual in which you say and do the same things on arrival and departure at each visit to make them comfortable, and always introduce yourself to alleviate anxiety and remind them of your name and connection to them.
Take something with you - a magazine, newspapers, flowers, photos or postcards to engage the person you're visiting.
If you are at all musical, consider playing an instrument or singing with the person. Music is both calming and triggers memories.
You don't have to talk, just being there and holding hands can be enough.
Visiting can sometimes be sad and difficult, so take a support person with you or plan a treat for yourself on the way home.
- Source Dementia Australia