Let’s Make the Northern Beaches Dementia Friendly
The NBDFC (Northern Beaches Dementia Friendly Community) Project aims to work towards becoming a dementia-friendly community in the Northern Beaches. Your Side will be working in collaboration with the Northern Beaches Council, advocacy groups, community organisations, service providers and local community members to develop an action plan to achieve this goal.
A dementia friendly community can be defined as: a place or culture in which people with dementia and their carers are empowered, supported and included in society, understand their rights and recognise their full potential (Dementia Australia).
The project aims to create a safe and supportive community for people living with dementia and their carers by improving the physical and social environment through education. Our goals are:
- Increase social participation for people living with dementia and promote an inclusive community
- Improve community awareness of dementia and reduce the stigma associated with Dementia
Who are the NBDA?
The Northern Beaches Dementia Alliance was formed in August 2018. The NBDA are a committee of passionate and dedicated individuals from the community and the aged care sector. Their role is to govern and facilitate the activities related to the project.
What are the current activities?
- A pilot intergenerational education program in primary schools to improve dementia awareness and educate the next generation about dementia.
- Four community awareness workshops to educate the community and organisations about dementia, the importance of a dementia-friendly community and how to become a dementia-friendly organisation.
- A music therapy program to be implemented in local RACFs and dementia care day centres in partnership with local primary schools.
Creating a better future together
Why are we doing it? The prevalence and incidence of dementia is increasing in Australia and the Northern Beaches. As 70% of people with dementia are living in the community, we wish to create a community that is dementia friendly. In 2018, there is an estimated 436, 366 Australians living with dementia. Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to 589,807 by 2028 and 1,076,129 by 2058 (Dementia Australia). In the Northern Beaches it is estimated that there are over 6000 people living with dementia. By 2058, the prevalence and incidence of dementia is projected to increase by 151%.
Recent research by Dementia Australia has revealed that community awareness of dementia is low. 25% of respondents believed that dementia was a normal part of ageing, 39% of respondents reported feeling “awkward” around people with dementia and 41% said they found talking with people living with dementia “confronting” (Dementia Australia 2017)
Why become DF – benefits to businesses (Dementia Australia, 2015)
“Dementia-friendly businesses typically make alterations to their physical environment, which improve navigation for all patrons and makes them generally popular places of trade. German supermarkets that have embraced the concept have seen the installation of “better lighting, wider aisles, non-slip floors, large price labels and smaller packages to make goods easier to handle … magnifying glasses on chains hang from shelves and red help buttons are located around the stores”. This has made them popular not just for those with dementia, but the elderly more generally, who see such initiatives as welcoming and deserving of their business.
In the United Kingdom, dedicated ‘dementia-friendly’ bank tellers have noted increased traffic as people with dementia but also older patrons or those who don’t wish to be rushed choose to utilise their services. As our population ages, measures to improve accessibility in the retail environment may initially provide a competitive advantage, though over time they will become a financial imperative to businesses who must attract and support elderly patrons. As dementia-friendly principles are incorporated into longer-term planning, the cost to the community and governments is greatly decreased as design enhancements become mainstream. In the Northern Beaches, there is only one DFO registered in the Northern Beaches. By becoming a DFO, you will be advertised on the Dementia Australia website so that people living with dementia and their carers can locate you. The NBDA is working with Dementia Australia to support local businesses and community organisations to become dementia friendly.
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For more information, contact the NBDFC Project Manager, Ilsa Bird.Subscribe Now Get Support
Every life has meaning, purpose and value
Promoting greater awareness
Research reveals that community knowledge and awareness of dementia is low and that survey respondents find it “awkward” or “confronting” when communicating with people living with dementia. The NBDFC Project aims to shed light on some of the misperceptions about dementia and to educate and empower individuals, communities and organisations to increase awareness and reduce the stigma associated.
Creating safe and supportive communities
By encouraging local businesses and community services such as supermarkets, banks and transport to become Dementia-Friendly, we can improve accessibility in these spaces for people living with dementia and their families as well as the broader elderly population. Businesses will provide services that are supportive; with staff that understand the needs of people living with dementia and communicate accordingly.
Fostering inclusivity and social participation
The NBDFC Project looks at ways to minimise social isolation for people living with dementia and their families which is detrimental to one’s personal and emotional wellbeing. People living with dementia report embarrassment associated with their diagnosis which causes them to withdraw socially. We aim to increase social participation through a range of activities and initiatives to foster inclusively.
Improved quality of life for individuals
The prevalence and incidence of dementia in Australia and the Northern Beaches is increasing with 70% of people with dementia currently living in the community. It is imperative we act now to increase awareness, foster inclusivity and create safe and supportive communities so that these individuals and their families can have improved quality of life and remain in the community.
I look forward to making our community more inclusive.
Thank you for helping to bring greater awareness to dementia.