We can all do our bit for people with dementia
experience double vision. A black mat on the floor can look like a huge hole.”
Touch, taste and smell can be affected, while hypersensitivity to noisy environments and information overload can also cause distress.
It is this hypersensitivity – as well as many other symptoms – which can eventually lead to social isolation. looking to embrace those affected by dementia.
With “love” at its centre, the flower has five petals – comfort, identity, occupation, inclusion and attachment.
“Everybody needs to be loved. On top of that, they need to feel comfortable – warm, dry and clean with a full stomach and a comfy chair,” Ms Kennon said.
“They also need to feel included, occupied and surrounded by things they’re attached to.
“Finally, they need to have their identity intact. Reaffirm who they are and make sure they have things around them that are important to them.”
Dementia became personal for Ms Kennon when her late father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
The lives of Ms Kennon and her family were never the same again.
“To see what he went through – and my mother, who cared for him – was really tough,” she said.
“Dad struggled to dress, eat and walk without assistance. When we eventually put him in respite, my mum slept for a week.”
The 24/7 care Ms Kennon’s mum gave her dad is a reality for many carers in our community who serve tirelessly, maintaining a high quality of life for those with dementia.
After witnessing this first hand, Ms Kennon urges locals to get behind carers.
“Give them time off. Understand them, talk with them – above all, listen to them,” she said.
“Just like those with dementia, carers can often feel isolated and lonely – and they are also completely exhausted.”
As the number of those living with dementia gradually rises in the shire, Ms Kennon hopes Kyabram will continue to develop as a dementia-friendly town.
“Kyabram is amazing already, but how can we be even more aware?” she said.
“It’s important to be aware of the environment. Avoid sensory overload such as loud noises and patterned carpets. People with dementia struggle to look up, so having signs at eye-level is beneficial.
“As for interactions, eye contact is important. Speak at a moderate rate, don’t ask difficult questions and give people time to respond. Don’t answer for them. Stay calm, slow down and just listen.”
The team at Warramunda are passionate about raising awareness of dementia.