70 per cent of people with dementia live in the community – a community that is important to them and they want to engage with.
Social stigma can have 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 and understanding of dementia will support people to continue to be involved in activities they enjoy, reduce social isolation and add meaning, value and purpose to their day-to-day lives.
General practitioners and health professionals are often the first point of contact when a person is diagnosed with dementia, and can help by connecting families with dementia-specific support networks.
Community groups can work towards becoming dementia friendly by considering the following:
- Encouraging neighbours to get to know each other
- Ensuring groups such as sporting clubs are inclusive of people living with dementia
- Developing volunteer programs that allow people living with dementia to engage with the community
- Creating Memory Cafés, walking groups or choirs for people living with dementia and their carers to meet others facing similar journeys.
If you are living with dementia, a dementia advocate.