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Dementia advocates tell Colbeck what they need from aged care

Maintain my identity – let me do the things I can do.”

Consistent and knowledgeable staff improves my wellbeing and makes me feel safe.”

I want to live a meaningful life with activities that suit my declining abilities and maintain my relationships with the people who are important to me.”

These are some of the messages about aged care from people living with dementia that a peak body is today delivering to the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, senator Richard Colbeck.

The communique, Our Solution: Quality care for people living with dementia, outlined what quality aged care means to people living with dementia, their families and carers.

It was hinged on responses to the new Aged Care Quality Standards, as “people with a lived experience of dementia have expressed concern that the Standards will not necessarily ensure quality dementia care is delivered”.

Contributor Dennis Frost, who has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, said people with dementia need to represent themselves and be included as equal partners and decision-makers when talking about quality care.

“If you can get it right for dementia, you can get it right for everyone else.”

Dementia Australia chief executive Maree McCabe said: “This is not just about quality dementia care; it is about providing quality aged care to people living with dementia as well as their families and carers.”

As one carer quoted in the communique put it: “The most important thing is that the care worker has empathy and recognises that individual person not just as another person they need to shower and feed – this is Grace, she likes wearing lipstick and these clothes, she still has her identity and this is very important.”

McCabe said consumers are asking government to formally adopt the perspectives and information in the communique in accreditation standards for aged care homes.

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