What is a Dementia Friendly Community?
A Dementia Friendly Community is a place where people with dementia are supported to continue living with meaning, purpose and value. Each Dementia Friendly Community will be different to the next, but will include at least one or more of the following:
- Businesses that provide accessible services for people with dementia, including staff who understand the disease and know how to communicate effectively with people living with dementia
- Organisations that provide paid work
- Volunteering opportunities
- Sporting clubs and social groups that are welcoming and inclusive
- Environments that are enabling
Why are Dementia Friendly Communities Important?
Social stigma has a devastating impact on the lives of people with dementia. Post-diagnosis not only brings cognitive changes, but also changes how family and friends respond to that person. Increased community awareness about dementia will support people to continue involvement in activities they enjoy, reduce social isolation and add meaning, value and purpose to their day-to-day lives.
How is Alzheimer’s WA helping to create Dementia Friendly Communities?
Once a month in a growing number of cafés across WA, a very special morning tea takes place.
The morning tea is for people living with dementia and their support person; an informal and social affair where people can feel welcomed and accepted, remain socially active and make new friends.
In recognising the need to encourage inclusion of people living with dementia in the local community, Alzheimer’s WA has partnered with local government and businesses to bring the Memory Café concept to Western Australia.
Dementia Partnership Project
The Dementia Partnership Project is a partnership between the Western Australian Department of Health and Alzheimer’s WA. The project’s primary aim is to build capacity within the community care sector in a variety of ways, with a focus on assisting community care providers and health professionals to further develop their skills when responding to the needs of people living with dementia.
Find out more by visiting the dedicated Dementia Partnership Project website.
Dementia Enabling Environments
Improving the physical environment, such as the use of appropriate signage, lighting and colours, will make it easier for people with dementia to remain engaged in their community. The design of a building can have a significant impact on the accessibility and enablement of a person with dementia. Alzheimer’s WA, in partnership with the University of Wollongong, has created the Dementia Enabling Environments website to help you understand evidence based dementia design principles and give practical advice and tips on creating a dementia friendly home, care facility or public building.
The Dementia Friendly Community Environmental Audit Tool can help guide you through assessing your public building.
People living with dementia, their carers and family can provide a powerful voice for change and a perspective on dementia no one else can provide. As a Dementia Advocate, you will join others living with dementia in the Dementia Advocate Program and become an influential voice that will help the Western Australian community to become dementia friendly.
Find out more about becoming a Dementia Advocate.
Building Dementia Friendly Communities in Regional Western Australia
The Dementia Friendly Communities project is funded by the Western Australia Country Health Service (WACHS) as part of the Southern Inland Health Initiative.
Dementia Friendly Community Towns: Manjimup and York
The scale of these projects are the first of their kind in Australia
Manjimup and York are pilot sites for Australia’s first ever Dementia Friendly Community towns in their entirety. Alzheimer’s WA is working with people living with dementia as well as local businesses, service providers and the wider community in a whole of town approach. Providing education, support and awareness to the town will help to address the stigma associated with dementia.
The learnings from these two towns will inform future Dementia Friendly Communities initiatives.
Alzheimer’s WA are grateful to the communities of Manjimup and York for embracing this project. In particular, we wish to acknowledge:
- Shire of York
- Balladong Lodge, York
- Shire of Manjimup
- Baptist Care Moonya, Manjimup
- Manjimup Community Resource Centre
Keep up to date with Dementia Friendly Community news:
Community Information Sessions in Regional Western Australia
Consulting with people living with dementia is a positive first step toward becoming dementia friendly, highlighting strengths and areas for opportunity within the community. Since 2014, Alzheimer’s WA carried out consultations in local communities across Western Australia.
In 2017, the Dementia Friendly Communities team held information sessions in the following regional towns:
The Guidelines for the Development of Dementia Friendly Communities is a practical model for local governments, civic services and community organisations. The 74-page document has been produced in conjunction with the State Government of Western Australia.
- Dementia Friendly News Edition 1 – Manjimup
- Dementia Friendly News Edition 2 – Manjimup
- Dementia Friendly News Edition 1 – York
- Dementia Friendly News Edition 2 – York
- Memory Cafe Guidelines
- Dementia Friendly Communities Project: Creating a Dementia Friendly WA