Creating Dementia-Friendly Communities
Improving community awareness through strong local partnerships
by Dr. Sonja Pedell
Swinburne’s Future-Self Design Living Lab has initiated plans to pilot a program that encourages the development of a dementia-friendly community, providing a vital support system for those living with dementia. The program seeks to engage three key stakeholder groups: those living with dementia, their care staff, and the wider City of Boroondara and its staff, who are integral in supporting and implementing the CDI’s innovative approach.
By addressing the interweaving relationships between the three, the FSDLL aims to improve the quality of life of people living with dementia in the City of Boroondara, while better preparing council staff to deliver adaptive solutions to a range of situations. Initial research has indicated that many individuals with dementia feel somewhat ostracised in their community, 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’s commitment to developing an awareness program will look to cultivate an inclusive culture that provides those living with dementia with the support they require to live their fullest life.
The program is currently in its infancy; however, it will prioritise a bottom-up process that involves elderly individuals in the planning and implementation of Boroondara’s age-friendly strategy, that is human-centric in its conception. The project will culminate in late-2018, with the FSDLL conducting a dementia-friendly event in Hawthorn that will lay the blueprint for future events by providing important guidance to a receptive and interactive community audience.