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Councils get advice for being dementia-friendly

Take small steps to embed dementia-friendly principles into council functions, find dementia-friendly champions and consult with members of the community with dementia and their families and carers.

These are just some of the tips from Alzheimer’s Australia Vic’s new toolkit that aims to help councils make their local community more dementia-friendly.

The resource, called Creating Dementia-friendly Communities: A Toolkit for Local Government, provides resources and guidance for building on existing infrastructure, systems and services.

In the toolkit, Guy Walter from Macedon Ranges Shire Council states: “Councils need to know how they can build on what they already have to ensure they can support dementia-friendly initiatives across their communities.”

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic general manager of learning and development, Dr David Sykes, said local councils are ideally placed to ensure that communities are vibrant, inclusive and supportive of all citizens, including people living with dementia.

Sykes said: “We are keen for the toolkit to help council staff to understand that in partnership with people living with dementia they can become more dementia-friendly without having a big budget to work with.”

The toolkit was launched by UK dementia expert Philly Hare, program manager at UK social policy research charity Joseph Rowntree Foundation, who led their ‘Dementia without Walls’ program, which examines how the UK can be improved for people with dementia.

Hare said everyone has a part to play in ensuring people with dementia remain connected in their local community but added the role of local governments is particularly significant because they deliver services, build infrastructure and set policies that have a direct impact on how the community operates.

“I’m really pleased that the toolkit stresses to councils the importance of working with people with dementia to identify ways they can become more dementia-friendly, as these direct insights are invaluable and help to ensure any changes made do meet their needs,” Hare said.

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