Kiama’s development as a dementia-friendly community will receive a funding boost from the Turnbull Government’s Dementia-Friendly Communities Initiative, to extend the district’s leading role in dementia innovation.
Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, and Member for Gilmore, Ann Sudmalis, announced today that the Kiama Dementia-Friendly Alliance has been successful in securing a $15,000 grant to support the local dementia project.
“The Kiama project has won national and international awards and is an inspiring example of what can be done when people understand this illness,” Minister Wyatt said.
“I am delighted Kiama is showing the way in creating greater dementia awareness and how small things can make a real difference to those with the condition and to their families and care partners.”
Mrs Sudmalis said she shared the community’s pride in the Dementia-Friendly Kiama project, which began in 2014 as a collaboration between Kiama Council, Dementia Australia (then known as Alzheimer’s Australia), and the University of Wollongong.
“We welcome this additional funding for a project which has already strengthened our community spirit,” she said.
“The Kiama Dementia Action Plan includes support for people with dementia to remain actively involved in the community and increased awareness to reduce any stigma around the condition.
“There has also been comprehensive local education and training and we have worked together to improve community accessibility for people living with dementia.
The University of Wollongong researched how attitudes to people living with dementia had changed over an 18 month period as a result of the project. It highlighted a significant improvement in local attitudes to, and understanding of, dementia and was published in Dementia: The international journal of social research and practice, in January 2018.
“Like all of us, people living with dementia deserve to continue to have a high quality of life with dignity, purpose and value,” Minister Wyatt said.
“It might be as simple as having a cup of coffee at the local café or continuing to go to social activities they have enjoyed for many years.
“I applaud the local community and organisations involved for responding to this rapidly growing challenge and I look forward to communities across Australia following Kiama’s lead.”
The Turnbull Government has provided $3.9 million to Dementia Australia for the national Dementia-Friendly Communities initiative. Dementia Australia manages the initiative, including selection and allocation of the 21 Dementia-Friendly Community Engagement Grants which were selected from 132 applicants.
While visiting Kiama, Minister Wyatt also attended a dementia showcase presented by the Kiama Municipal Council, visited the local Meals On Wheels Association and addressed students at the Kiama High School, where he encouraged them to consider the growing career prospects in aged care.
“This is an exciting time, with rapid growth in the sector and the Productivity Commission estimating Australia will need almost one million aged care staff by 2050,” the Minister said.
“A dementia friendly community like Kiama is an ideal place to contemplate a career in caring, from nursing and horticulture to IT, robotics and senior management.
“As part of our reform agenda, the Turnbull Government has commissioned a wide-ranging workforce strategy, to support the skills and jobs growth required to meet aged care demand and underpin professional career options across the sector.” —