York taking the lead on dementia
Alzheimer’s WA CEO Rhonda Parker, York Shire President David Wallace and Balladong Lodge facility manager Sarah Newbon with York councillors Denese Smythe and Jane Ferro. YORK is on its way to becoming one of Australia’s first dementia-friendly towns.
The Dementia Friendly Communities project, driven by Alzheimer’s WA, aims to reduce stigma and foster a community supportive of people living with dementia.
Chief executive Rhonda Parker said York people had embraced the project with the community spirit often found in country towns.
“I am so heartened by the stories I’m hearing since the project was introduced a few months ago, including retail staff from the local IGA who learnt the skills needed to identify and assist a local woman living with younger onset dementia who became lost in an aisle,” she said.
Residential care facility Balladong Lodge hosted community dementia training workshops supported by WA Country Health Service, and York Pharmacy, Dementia is the leading cause of death of women in Australia, and the second leading cause of death of all Australians² There is no cure 41,149 people are living with dementia in WA This figure is predicted to increase to more than 84,000 people in less than 20 years and almost 150,000 people by 2056¹. Sources ¹ NATSEM calculations using Australian Bureau of Statistics population projections ² Australian Bureau of Statistics Botanicalia Cafe and IGA participated in one-on-one training sessions at their premises.
York has more people aged over 65 than the state average and last year the Shire developed an agefriendly community plan.
Corporate and community services manager Suzie Haslehurst said while developing the plan, Alzheimer’s WA contacted the Shire about its project.
“The Shire entered into a partnership with Alzheimer’s WA to promote dementia training for local businesses and to facilitate the upgrade of public toilets at Avon Park with dementia-friendly signage and colours, which will be undertaken during 2018-19 as part of the Avon Park upgrade,” she said.
Alzheimer’s WA local representative Heather Bates is on the Shire’s access and inclusion advisory committee and was involved in development of a new disability access and inclusion plan.
Call the Alzheimer’s WA helpline on 1300 66 77 88.