‘Dementia friendly’ cafe to open

By Daniel Hughes

A dementia friendly community is the aim of a new project being delivered by Finley Dementia Alliance, Finley Regional Care and Dementia Australia.

The project will see the three organisations start a community cafe that will guide community groups and service clubs in making Finley ‘dementia friendly’.

More than 448,000 people in Australia are living with dementia and the numbers are expected to grow to more than one million by 2050.

‘‘If you look at the number of people who are available and will be able to care for them, there is not the population growth to match,’’ Finley Regional Care CEO Ben Levesque said.‘‘Dementia Australia advocates that if people living with dementia were to stay at home and in their own community for longer it would alleviate a lot of issues.

‘‘Their lives would be more fulfilling and they would feel part of the community they have grown or lived in for a longer length of time.

"The Community Cafe idea is a way of inviting social, service and community groups to be part of the process of allowing people living with dementia to remain active in their own community.

‘‘The continuing cafes are places where carers and people living with dementia are able to socialise with others in a similar situation, to discuss issues in a non-threatening and safe environment.

’’The cafes are an opportunity to improve the accessibility and inclusivity of areas in the community.

‘‘This is a small part and a start on the path to becoming a community that is dementia friendly,’’ Mr Levesque said.

Finley Regional Care has also partnered with the Finley Dementia Alliance which is made up of people who care about this subject and understand the issues of caring for people with dementia as well as carers and people living with dementia.

The alliance of the Dementia Australia, Finley Regional Care, Finley Dementia Alliance and Finley RSC have found ways to raise community awareness and education on this subject.

‘‘People living with dementia are essential to this education and are the driving force for awareness as they are able to tell us what the stumbling blocks are and where they find difficulties,’’ Mr Levesque added.

‘‘Each community that is working towards becoming dementia friendly uses different ways to start their journey.

"Our alliance has chosen the community cafe approach, so that the community is involved from the start.

‘‘We believe the stigma and lack of appropriate knowledge around dementia is lacking in a community situation.

"Awareness and education programs help people to feel comfortable and better able to do and say the right things in situations that they might in the past have found confronting."

The trio of organisations will host its first community cafe at Finley RS Club on Friday, September 20, between 10.30am and 12.30pm.