Dementia Australia today joins the rest of the world in celebrating World Friendship Day, encouraging Australians to mark the day by becoming a Dementia Friend.
A Dementia Friend is someone who wants to make a positive difference to the lives of people living with dementia through increased awareness and support.
Dementia Australia’s Executive Director of Client Services, Susan McCarthy, said that with more than 425,000 Australians living with dementia, now was the time to take action and help create communities where people living with dementia are supported to live the life they choose and engage in the activities that are important to them.
“Across the country people living with dementia often tell us that some of the biggest challenges they face are a lack of awareness of dementia and becoming socially isolated in the community,” Ms McCarthy said.
“In order to increase awareness of the impact of dementia in our communities, Dementia Australia has developed the Dementia Friends program to transform the way our nation thinks, acts, and talks about dementia, which we hope will help make communities more dementia-friendly.”
Dementia Advocate Karen Glennan, a carer for her husband Kerin Glennan, who has younger onset dementia, has seen first-hand the positive impact Dementia Friends can have on people living with dementia, their families, carers and friends.
“In Colac there are a number of cafés that are dementia-friendly, they know Kerin has dementia, they know his order, and they take the time to allow him to sort his money and help when he makes a mistake or forgets. They watch out for him and make him happy,” Ms Glennan said.
“As a family, knowing that there are people and businesses in the community, who know about dementia and take the time to respectfully ensure Kerin’s safety and autonomy provide us with a sense of confidence and support, as it enables Kerin to continue being a valued member of our small community in Colac.”
To become a Dementia Friend, head to www.dementiafriendly.org.au. Here you can listen to people with dementia share their stories and be guided through a short education module designed to increase understanding of dementia and its impacts.
By having a better understanding of dementia, we hope people will be empowered to do small, everyday things that can make a difference to someone with dementia.
Once you’ve completed the module, you’ll receive a Dementia Friend certificate and badge.
(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)
When talking or writing about dementia please refer to Dementia-Friendly Language Guidelines. —