A group of carers in the Barossa region have formed a Dementia Friendly Communities Working Group aimed at raising awareness of those living with dementia and highlighting the issues they face.
These include access to services, impact on their health, their status in the community because of their diminished capacity, and the impact on family and carers.
“There are many subtle changes organisations can make to reduce negative triggers and improve things for people living with dementia,” said Helen Wood from Carers’ Link Barossa, a partner in the Dementia Friendly Communities project.
“Simple changes include creating dementia-friendly spaces in libraries, parks and cafes, appropriate signage and flooring, quiet areas, seating and free drinking water in shops and council areas.
“We are aiming to engage people to make a difference.”
The group will encourage organisations, businesses and the community to create dementia-friendly areas.
As part of the project, Carers’ Link held a community event – Changing Minds – where dementia advocate and carer Brett Partington, whose father Bob has Alzheimer’s Disease, shared his story as a family member and carer.
“The environment has a big impact on someone with dementia,” Brett said.
“For example, my father was in a hospital which was noisy and it was making him agitated and manically walking the hallways.
“We moved him to a quiet atmosphere and his behaviour changed immediately.”
Brett runs advocacy group Dementia Downunder and an online support group where carers, nurses and family members can share positive thoughts and ideas about living with dementia.