NSW Taxi Council CEO Roy Wakelin-King, Alzheimer’s Australia NSW CEO John Watkins and NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian MP at dementia awareness training launch in Sydney on Friday.
Dementia awareness training is being rolled out to NSW taxi drivers, bus, rail and ferry frontline staff as part of a state-wide initiative to better support people with dementia when using public transport.
The CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, John Watkins, described the move as a significant step by the both the state government and the NSW Taxi Council to ensure that people with dementia are not discriminated against and feel confident when accessing the local transport system.
“We are told by our members that catching public transport can be, at times, confusing and confronting for a person with dementia. People with dementia have a right to equal access to the services that we all enjoy in the community,” Mr Watkins said at the formal launch on Friday.
He said he hoped the initiative would pave the way for other service-based organisations to follow suit.
NSW Taxi Council CEO, Roy Wakelin-King, said the council worked closely with Alzheimer’s Australia to produce the training resource and it would be actively used in their taxi driver training to help recognise the signs of dementia.
The training draws on Is it Dementia?, an Alzheimer’s Australia resource produced by Alzheimer’s Australia SA and supported by the former Department of Health and Ageing. The training aims to increase awareness of the challenges often experienced by people with dementia, including confusion and disorientation and includes 12 short films to help broaden recognition and understanding of dementia.
The training is already underway at Harbour City Ferries for all new staff and Transport for NSW will begin their roll out for train and bus drivers and frontline workers from November.
Revisit the July-August edition of Australian Ageing Agenda for an in depth article on the Is It dementia? resources by Marie Alford, Head of Operations for the Dementia Centre HammondCare and the former manager of Alzheimer’s Australia South Australia.