New study to assess needs of Canterbury-Bankstown’s dementia community

To better support over 8,000 people living with dementia in the Canterbury-Bankstown region, Western Sydney University will lead new research exploring the lived experiences of people with dementia and the city’s infrastructure.

Funded by grants from Maridulu Budyari Gumal (SPHERE) and the University, the study will capture insights from people living with dementia and their caregivers through interviews and workshops, including perspectives from the region’s many diverse communities.

Dr Diana Karamacoska from Western Sydney University’s NICM Health Research Institute will lead the project and highlights that over the next 30 years, South West Sydney is expected to have the highest increase in dementia prevalence in all of NSW.

“This project aims to proactively find out what people with dementia and their caregivers need to feel supported, engaged, and valued in the community,” said Dr Karamacoska.

“The study will explore how members of the dementia community navigate essential facilities in their everyday lives – from local shopping centres through to health services – and how we can improve their experiences.”

“Importantly, English, Arabic and Vietnamese speaking residents with dementia and their support networks will be invited to attend community consultations as part of the research.”

On completion of the study next year, the research team will make recommendations as to how key infrastructure facilities can be improved to best support people with dementia, informing the City of Canterbury Bankstown’s Positive Ageing Plan.

“Much research into dementia care has focused on the medical and social impacts, but more needs to be done to understand the barriers and opportunities for those interacting with our infrastructure,” explained Dr Karamacoska.

Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour said dementia is a very serious disease that can happen to anyone, but it is more common among our senior residents.

“This is a progressive disease, and figures are growing every year,” said Mayor Asfour.

“So, this study is important now more than it’s ever been. I look forward to seeing the results and hearing recommendations for making our City better for those living with dementia.”

The study is a collaboration between Western Sydney University, Canterbury-Bankstown Council, the University of Technology Sydney, South Western Sydney Local Health District, CASS Care, Bankstown Dementia Carers group (sponsored by 3 Bridges Community), and the Canterbury-Bankstown Dementia Alliance.

The City of Canterbury Bankstown is the convenor of the Canterbury-Bankstown Dementia Alliance – a working group formed in response to the community’s call to make the region more dementia-friendly.

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