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Make a change for Dementia Action Week

A lady and carer gardening

Monday 16 September 2019

This week (16 to 22 September) is Dementia Action Week and Mount Alexander Shire Council is inviting the community to make small changes to better support people living with dementia.

“People living with dementia, their families and carers commonly experience social isolation as a result of discrimination. This is most often not from deliberate discrimination, but simply because people don’t know how to include them,” said Council’s Access and Support Officer Philippa Calwell.

“What’s really important is to learn different and meaningful ways to be connected with people living with dementia. This will reduce the isolation they experience,” said Ms Calwell.

“You can do simple things like including people living with dementia in conversations, asking their opinions and inviting them to be involved in activities or outings,” she said.

“Try to avoid making assumptions about their capacity to make decisions or how they can contribute.

“We can all make small changes to help people living with dementia to feel more included.”

As part of Dementia Awareness Week Council is inviting the community to complete a national survey that will investigate discrimination against people living with dementia, their family and carers, and what can be done to minimise it.

Fill out the survey via www.dementia.org.au/dementia-action-week.

The results will help Dementia Australia and other groups understand how they can continue to work with the community to reduce discrimination, social isolation and loneliness.

More than 437 people in Mount Alexander Shire were living with dementia in 2016. By 2050 this number is expected to rise to almost 1,793.

“Dementia is the leading cause of death among Australian women, and remains the second leading cause of death across all Australians,” said Ms Calwell.

“It’s a significant issue not only for our community, but right around the globe. We can all make small changes which will make a big difference to the lives of people living with dementia, their families and carers.”

What is dementia?
Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. The condition affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks which interfere with the person’s normal social or working life.

Most people with dementia are older, but it is not a normal part of ageing. Dementia does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone including a family member, friend, neighbour, co-worker or customer.

*Source: NATSEM, University of Canberra, January 2016. Commissioned by Alzheimer’s Australia (now Dementia Australia). Victorian Local Government Areas Report.

Image: Ask how can you include people with dementia.

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