For Day 14 of Dementia Awareness Month 2015, it seemed important to talk about the dementia friendly communities initiatives going on around the world. Being dementia friendly is less about being ‘friendly’ – we should all be friendly and kind – and more more about:
- Human rights
- Non discrimination
- Full inclusion
- Our right to citizenship
- Dementia Enabling Environments
- Support for disAbilities
Becoming dementia friendly is not rocket science, and to begin with, organisations who are promoting the dementia friends messages and campaigns, need to start within, so that they too, are actually walking their own talk.
The only community that DAI knows of, authentically working on their own community becoming dementia friendly, is the Kiama Municipal Council, south of Sydney.
You can read it in full on their website, but why they are unique, is due to their willingness and commitment to set up a Local Dementia Advisory Group, made up of people with dementia and their support partners if needed.
The project partners, together with people living with dementia and their supporters, as well as interested members of the Kiama community, developed the Kiama Dementia Action Plan in 2015. The plan was informed by people living with dementia in Kiama via research undertaken by the University of Wollongong (see below).
Two local groups formed to develop and implement the Action Plan.
- The Dementia Alliance includes people with dementia and their supporters, and relevant stakeholders (e.g. members from Kiama council, transport services, and aged services)
- The Dementia Advisory group which is made up exclusively of people with dementia and their supporters. They will oversee the activities of the Dementia Alliance, as well as develop their own activities.
Go to the DEMENTIA Illawarra Shoalhaven website for their full article on their efforts towards becoming dementia friendly. It is admirable, and we, people with dementia, are waiting for the rest of the world to catch up by setting up their own Local Dementia Advisory Groups in their own DFC projects and initiatives.
Without that, this work continues to be, mostly, “about us, without us.”
Editor: Kate Swaffer
Copyright: Dementia Alliance International 2015