Creating Dementia-Friendly Communities
Article by Ryan Malcolm
by Dr. Sonja Pedell
Swinburne’s Future-Self Design Living Lab has adopted a co-creative design approach in order to pilot a program that focuses around the development of a dementia-friendly community in order to provide an integral support system for those living with dementia. With an important focus on engaging three key stakeholder groups: individuals living with dementia, their carers, and the wider City of Boroondara and its staff, the CDI has developed an impressive rapport with each group, with each working to implement the CDI’s innovative approach.
Through addressing these interweaving relationships, the FSDLL endeavours to improve the quality of life for those living with dementia within the City of Boroondara, while developing the skills of council staff to better deliver solutions to a range of situations. Preliminary research has indicated that many individuals with dementia feel somewhat outcast from their society, often excluded from activities due to their diagnosis, with some observing that the language and stigma around dementia is similar to that of a terminal illness, rather than a disability. The FSDLL-endorsed program will look to create an inclusive culture that provides those living with dementia the support they require to enjoy their life to their fullest capability.
The program will prioritise a bottom-up process that involves consulting elderly individuals in the planning and implementation of Boroondara’s age-friendly strategy, adopting human-centric ideals in its efforts to conduct a dementia-friendly event in Hawthorn that will act as a signpost for future events, by providing integral guidance to a receptive community audience.