Dementia Friendly Communities

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We have made the commitment to being a dementia friendly community which is defined by Dementia Australia as “inclusive suburbs or towns where people living with dementia are able to continue living the life they choose.” You can read more about dementia friendly communities and find out what you can do by going to the Dementia Australia website.

Dementia is not a normal part of ageing. It is the fastest growing disability in Australia, currently affecting more than half a million Australians, with that number set to double in the next 25 years. However, many people continue to live active and rich lives after diagnosis. As a community we have a role in supporting people with dementia to live and age well.

We employ an Ageing Well Officer to progress the aims of making the Shire dementia friendly. This includes organising regular staff and volunteer training and community awareness raising events. In 2021 the Indigo Community Dementia Alliance was formed to further progress the aims of being dementia friendly. Local Police, Ambulance, health services, carer groups, universities, Neighbourhood Houses and Senior Citizen Clubs are represented in the Alliance.

Council also supports the carer support group Changing Minds in Beechworth and is working with Carer Gateway to establish more carer support groups across the Shire. Many of the local businesses and services in Beechworth have taken steps towards being dementia friendly and Council is working towards greater inclusivity across the Shire. In 2020 the first memory café, Changing Minds Cafe opened at the Empire Hotel Beechworth. This is a free get together for people experiencing memory loss or living with a diagnosis of dementia and their family and friends. It is supported by local businesses, taxi service, Council and Beechworth Health Services.

In July 2021, Indigo Shire Council in partnership with the Indigo Community Dementia Alliance was successful in securing a grant of $34,267.60 from the Victorian Government to support carers. The project will be managed by the Alliance as a collective, with the Indigo Shire Council Ageing Well Officer taking the lead. This project focuses on carers of people living with dementia and cognitive decline living rurally and regionally.

The project will:

  1. Increase the number of carers accessing the established Changing Minds Beechworth – Carer Support Group by assisting them with establishing a social setting.
  2. Establish a carer support group, Memory Café and Carer Hub at the Chiltern Neighbourhood House, including a garden space and outdoor social setting.
  3. Seek to establish a carer support group in Rutherglen and Yackandandah and provide a social setting for carers at the Senior Citizen Clubs.
  4. Fund a series of activities to reduce social isolation of carers and connect them with other carers during Dementia Action Month in September 2021 and throughout the year.
  5. Facilitate strong linkages with existing supports, including Carer Gateway, to establish resilient carer support groups. Also, collaborate with organisations such as Dementia Australia and the Support for Carers Program to support the mental health, wellbeing and capacity to continue self-care of carers.

Q&A Dementia and Carers Forum

The Indigo Community Dementia Alliance is pleased to bring you this online forum to recognise Dementia Action Week.

The aim of the forum is to link in local people with their local dementia and carer supports, and to answer any questions that that people have about dementia. A dementia diagnosis can be very frightening and isolating, however, there is support available locally and no-one needs to go through the journey alone.

The forum with be chaired by Indigo Shire Mayor, Jenny O’Connor and the panellists are:

Di Everingham, Penny Bingham and Lorna Nash - Changing Minds Beechworth, Dementia Carer Support Group
Dr Brent Corcoran – Beechworth Surgery
Dr Clare Dickson – Cognitive Dementia & Memory Service 
Sharee Donegan – Upper Murray Family Care
Peta Cherubin & Laura Humphris – Carer Gateway

When: Thursday September 30
Time: 10:30am - 11:30am

Register online here to receive the Zoom link or call the Ageing Well Officer on 1300 365 003 or email.

There is an opportunity to email in your questions prior to the forum, or you can ask on the day. Please email changingmindsbeechworth@gmail.com with any questions.

If you would like more information on what you or your business, service or group can do to become dementia friendly please contact the Ageing Well Officer on 1300 365 003.