Towards a dementia-friendly Australia

Updated May 24 2018 - 9:08pm, first published September 29 2015 - 12:00am
Towards a dementia-friendly Australia
Towards a dementia-friendly Australia

Australia needs to become more dementia-friendly. By 2050 almost 900,000 Australians will have dementia - a dramatic jump from the 342,800 today.
In-home aged care provider, Home Instead Senior Care, is working toward creating a dementia-friendly Australia.
This year, the company has introduced a national public education program to help businesses in Australia 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," said Martin Warner, owner of Home Instead Care in Australia.
"We assist businesses with changing their systems in regards to communication, lighting, signage and environment, all of which can have a huge impact.
"Many people who suffer from dementia 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."
Home Instead defines dementia-friendly as 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," Martin said.
"It is so vital that they can retain their independence, choice and control over their day-to-day lives."
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.
This is not a one-off session and training will be available on an ongoing basis.
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.
It has been running a similar program in the UK and has reached more than 20,000 people since 2012.
In June this year, the company began its pilot program in Brisbane, with the likes of Woolworths, Kmart, Wallace Bishop, Taking Shape Fashion and Brisbane City Council Library all involved in the training.
The program is now Australia-wide with workshops in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
Kmart Toowong in Brisbane's Inner West is working toward becoming a dementia-friendly business, with ten team members now trained.
Store manager Kim Esposito said Kmart was committed to supporting their diverse customers visiting the store.
"We are always looking at how we can better support our customers in their shopping experience so we were very pleased to participate in Home Instead's dementia-friendly training," Kim said.
"Being aware of the challenges people with dementia face will allow us to be more supportive of members in the community and make Kmart Toowong a more dementia-friendly store to shop in."
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

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