Public program to create a Dementia-Friendly Australia

IT IS predicted that by 2050, there will be close to 900,000 people living with dementia in Australia.

This is a significant increase as compared to the 342,800 Australians currently living with the disease. Dementia is a growing problem and it is growing at a rapid rate.

Thankfully, one in-home aged care provider is making a serious difference by working to create a dementia-friendly Australia. Home Instead Senior Care has introduced a national public education program to assist businesses in Australia to become more dementia-friendly.

The purpose of the program is to help businesses understand dementia through training and education and to assist in making changes that will have a positive impact on those with dementia.

"Awareness, understanding and acceptance of dementia is so important but we want to take it a step further and put this understanding into practice.

We assist businesses with changing their systems in regards to communication, lighting, signage and environment - all of which can have a huge impact," says Falon Newman & Glen Fredrickson, owner of Home Instead Senior Care in Australia.

"Many people living with demetia can become isolated and unfortunately, we as Australians are implicit in this.

If people living with dementia do not feel supported in their local community and face barriers to social inclusion, it is all too easy for them to shut off from society, which only exacerbates their feelings of confusion and loneliness," says Falon & Glen.

The definition of a dementia-friendly community, as stated by Home Instead Senior Care, is a place where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported and can continue to contribute to community life.

"We want people with dementia to feel included, involved, encouraged and supported in their community. It is so vital that they can retain their independence, choice and control over their day-to-day lives," says Falon & Glen.

The national public education program involves a free thirty minute training workshop with Home Instead Senior Care educators who will teach employees and employers how to maintain a dementia friendly environment.

The session covers everything from how to identify someone with dementia to how to communicate with them and how to support them in their service experience.  

Home Instead Senior Care awards participating businesses with a formal certificate of training to certify that the business has completed the training and is actively creating a dementia friendly Australia.

Home Instead Senior Care, Maroochydore have been delivering the education program to local businesses on the Sunshine Coast since May 2016, which include the likes of Woolworths, Westpac bank,  Commlink, Buderim Pharmacy, Malouf Pharmacy, Terry White Chemist and retirement villages.

Dementia care, education, awareness, advocacy and support is a long-standing commitment of Home Instead Senior Care.

In 2007, they developed the first specialist dementia care training program for CAREGivers in collaboration with Alzheimer's Australia, providing them the knowledge, skills and understanding to best support someone with dementia at home. In 2011, they developed their resource guide for carers and families of which they distribute over 50,000 copies year. In 2014 they launched a family dementia education program along with the advanced dementia care training program for CAREGivers.

For more information on Home Instead Senior Care visit www.homeinstead.com.au or email maroochydore@homeinstead.com.au or call 07 5443 3562


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