Small changes, big impact: Celebrating our community on Dementia Friendly Queen Street

With around 450,000 Australians living with dementia, and nearly 1.6 million involved in their care*, dementia-friendly communities are essential to supporting local people live quality lives. And that’s exactly what the Woollahra Dementia Alliance is setting out to achieve in its local community.  

In a heartwarming display of unity and support, Holdsworth in collaboration with the Woollahra Dementia Alliance and Woollahra Council, hosted its first ever week-long event, transforming Queen Street to raise awareness about dementia and its aims of creating a dementia friendly community in Woollahra.  

Dementia Friendly Queen Street, held from the 19th to 23rd June, offered an opportunity for community members, people living with dementia and their carers to connect with each other as well as with local businesses, service providers and experts in dementia. Over the week, with the support of nine local businesses, fun activities and aged care information, Queen Street was transformed to spread an important message about how we can all contribute to a dementia friendly community. 

“People living with dementia can find it frustrating or exhausting to navigate the world around them,” says Woollahra Dementia Alliance Chairman Dr Allan Shell. “What we’re doing by creating dementia-friendly spaces is about responding to the needs of the community, and ultimately making it a better place for everyone.” Dr Allan Shell. 

The week served as a powerful platform for connecting over 40 community members who connected with the information stall and activities, including special offers from local businesses. BikEAST and Cycling without Age set up their infamous trishaw with free guided rides around the local streets and Woollahra Libraries SparkTruck showcased their incredible memory boxes and pop-up library.  

As Mary Read from Reads of Woollahra said, “Seems like it was a great success. We had a customer come in with her husband the other day and he said it was great that he could learn more about how to be with her during her early stage of dementia. A great display of support for our local community.” 

Not only did the week raise awareness with the local community but has generated awareness with local media and other Alliance’s across the state. During the week, Holdsworth CEO, Jason Malone spoke with local radio Eastside Radio and ABC 702, with James Valentine about the importance of raising awareness and the aims of growing this to be bigger and better next year. Hear more by clicking on the links.  

Creating a dementia-friendly community is at the heart of the WDA’s action plan. This includes a number of small changes, like clear signage for businesses and bathrooms, improving access, considered lighting, and staff education. To create a dementia-friendly community, it’s important to raise awareness about dementia, provide education and available support. This can involve undertaking dementia friendly training, promoting inclusion and social engagement. If you’d like to learn more and find out how to better support those affected with dementia, take advantage of the resources below.  

For more information: 

What is dementia? 

Dementia is an umbrella term describing a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders of the brain. It’s not one specific disease. There are more than 100 types of dementia. Symptoms lead to a progressive decline in a person’s cognitive functioning and may include loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills, physical functioning, changes in personality and sensory challenges. Despite these challenges, people living with dementia are still capable with support, to contribute to all aspects of community living. 

*Source: Dementia Australia 

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