Dementia Friendly Communities
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:
- Increase the number of carers accessing the established Changing Minds Beechworth – Carer Support Group by assisting them with establishing a social setting.
- Establish a carer support group, Memory Café and Carer Hub at the Chiltern Neighbourhood House, including a garden space and outdoor social setting.
- Seek to establish a carer support group in Rutherglen and Yackandandah and provide a social setting for carers at the Senior Citizen Clubs.
- 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.
- 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 was very pleased to bring you an online forum to recognise Dementia Action Week in late September 2021.
You can view a recording of the forum below:
The forum linked local people with their local dementia and carer supports, and answered some of the key questions 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 was chaired by Indigo Shire Mayor, Jenny O’Connor, with panellists:
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
Dementia Australia is the peak body in Australia to assist you with a diagnosis or caring role, or just if you have questions. You can access a large range of tips here or you can contact them on the national hotline 1800 100 500.
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.