To make a change from my blogs of remembrance, I thought I’d focus on the Kiama Dementia Friendly Community Pilot Project in my attempt to post daily blogs for #WAM2016 #DAM2016. Yes, I know yesterday one did not arrive, but I accidentally posted two on Sunday!
To say Kiama has ‘done it again Sam!’ is an understatement!!!
In June this year, the Kiama Dementia Friendly Project which is making the Kiama Municipality more inclusive for people living with dementia won a prestigious National Award for Local Government in the Disability Access and Inclusion category.
Many of us in Dementia Alliance International, and beyond, have been saying we have felt it to be the GOLD standard of any dementia friendly community project any of us have seen or heard of.
In part, this is because early in the project they set up a Local Dementia Advisory Group (lovingly known as the DAG’s), made up of people with dementia supported by their care partners or friends and significant others, to guide and inform the project. Inclusion that is not tokenism, and reaches beyond a select few, is imperative.
When global advocate from Scotland, also a member of DAI, and an inaugural member of Scottish Dementia Working Group Agnes Houston visited Kiama in May, she said; “I have heard others call the DFC initiative in Kiama the gold standard. Now I understand why!”
Full and equal inclusion in everything that is about us, and being supported to live independently in our communities, with support for the disabilities caused by dementia, is not only desirable, it is our basic human right.
Kiama have just recently won another award, this time an International one from The World Health Organisation (WHO). WOW! Read the article by Brendan Cabb in the Kiama Independent Kiama Dementia Friendly Project project wins WHO award
They were recognised for the efforts of Kiama council’s Health Plan and in particular the Kiama Dementia Friendly Project.
Kiama councillor Kathy Rice recently received the council’s award at the seventh Global Conference of the Alliance for Healthy Cities at Wonju City, South Korea. “It’s a great honour to be able to receive this award from the WHO in recognition of Kiama council’s best practice in health,” Cr Rice said.
“The presentation of the award before 500 international delegates has also extended the worldwide recognition of the Dementia Friendly Kiama Project*.”
The first activity of the project featured researchers from UOW learning what it is like to live in Kiama for people with dementia. This guided subsequent work such as:
- Improving signage, access to transport, businesses and other services;
- Access to community activities and reduction of the stigma associated with dementia;
- General community education and specialist education for local medical services and businesses.
It is thrilling to hear that funding has been secured to continue the project into the next phase, moving from a Dementia Friendly Community to a Dementia Enabling Community. I am proud to have been involved in this project in its early phases, and also to be considered an Honorary DAG and to be involved in the University of Wollongong Dementia Enabling University Strategy as well!
* The Kiama Dementia Friendly Project commenced in July 2014 when Kiama council was approached by Alzheimer’s Australia and the University of Wollongong to take part in a pilot that would see Kiama work towards being one of Australia’s first Dementia Friendly Communities.