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Tasmanian council scoops award for dementia initiative


A Tasmanian council has won an award for its efforts to provide a dementia friendly community, including the creation of pop-up memory cafes and dementia training for local businesses and community groups.

Central Coast Council, situated in the north-west of the state between Burnie and Devonport, took out an award for excellence at the Local Government Association Tasmania awards earlier this month for its Dementia-Friendly Central Coast Framework.

It’s estimated that 332 of Central Coast’s 21,360 residents are currently living with dementia. The figure is expected to grow to 579 by 2027 and approach 800 by 2037.

The framework, which takes into account those population projections, provides a roadmap for improving life and access to services for the growing number of people with dementia, and is the first of its kind to be adopted by a Tasmanian council.

 

Dr Katrena Stephenson, Mayor Jan Bonde, Heidi Willard and LGAT president Christina Holmdahl at the awards.

The framework includes a practical toolkit of initiatives, based on global case studies and designed to meet local priorities. It was designed in consultation with local residents who are living with dementia and their carers.

It also includes a dementia-friendly action plan based around five principles:

  • People with dementia are vauled and respected members of the community
  • Creating a dementia-friendly community is everybody’s business
  • Places, businesses and services are welcoming and enabling for people living with dementia
  • Community decisions respond to the needs and aspirations of people with dementia and their carers
  • Become a dementia-friendly community is an ongoing process

Memory cafes help people with dementia connect

A key initiative of the framework is the establishment of “Connect Cafes” which provide a safe and encouraging environment for people with dementia to socialise with carers and members of the broader community.

The volunteer-run cafes “popped-up” once a week between 2018-2019, with about 30 people taking advantage of them each week. As well as a chance for a cuppa they also offer pet therapy, singing and entertainment, including circus performance.

Meanwhile, Council also offers dementia-specific inclusion training, developed in conjunction with Tasmanian Health Services, to local businesses and community organisations to boost awareness and reduce the stigma around dementia.

The training includes workshops on adapting services to make them more dementia-friendly, with participants receiving a Dementia-Friendly accreditation certificate to display in their shopfront after completion.

Central Coast Council’s Connect Cafe provides an inclusive space for people with dementia (Image: Central Coast Council).

Central Coast was a worthy recipient of the award on all accounts, LGAT CEO Katrena Stephenson said.

“When we judge our awards for excellence we look at some key criteria such as innovation, how easily other councils could adapt the idea and what impact it is having in the community, and this particular project stood out to the judges on all those categories,” she told Community Care Review.

“Given that we know Tasmania has one of the fastest-ageing populations in Australia and dementia is on the increase, there’s certainly potential for other councils to explore how they might work with their communities and build more programs and support for people with dementia.”

Find out more about Central Coast’s Dementia-Friendly Central Coast Initiatives here.

Read more:

Dementia study targets whole of Tasmania;

Call for dementia-friendly communities

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