14 Aug 3Bridges Community Creating Age and Dementia Inclusive Neighbourhoods
For over 60 participants who attended the 3Points Connect Conference “Is C the new D?” organised by 3Bridges Community on 3 August, the stereotypical images often associated with dementia were challenged and were instead replaced by images of Kate Swaffer and Dennis Frost. These eloquent, engaging, smart, inspiring people have been living with dementia and working very hard to smash the myths and false images surrounding a diagnosis.
Kate Swaffer was only 49 years of age when diagnosed with the semantic variant of Primary Progressive Aphasia which is one of 150 different types of dementia. Kate is now 60; she is a speaker, author; Australian of The Year 2017, a human rights activist and the biggest advocate for people with dementia, currently studying for a PhD; achieving more since her diagnosis than most of us would be able to do in a lifetime. Kate is also the inaugural chair of the Dementia Australia Advisory Committee,and the current Chair, CEO and a co-founder of Dementia Alliance International.
Dennis Frost is a member of Dementia Alliance International and also the Inaugural Chair of the Southern Dementia Advisory Group in Kiama NSW, which guides the Dementia Friendly Community pilot project between the Kiama Council, University of Wollongong and Dementia Australia.
Just listening to their inspirational stories was enough to change the views and attitudes about how those living with dementia are supported and included in the community, while highlighting the need to always do more in this space.
3Bridges Community is currently piloting for the first time in Australia, a Dutch model of care called the Meeting Centre Support Program, to support people living with mild to moderate dementia and their families. The pilot is funded by the Department of Health through Dementia and Aged Care Services Fund. Two Meeting Centres have been established, one in Carss Park for South East Sydney and another in Summer Hill for Inner West Sydney. Activities and programs are designed to engage, enable and provide meaning, from physical activities to cooking, singing, and dancing, while providing practical and emotional support to the members and their family caregivers.
The Meeting Centres have also been financially supported by Club Central; a key partner and supporter of 3Bridges’ work and commitment to promote the wellbeing of people living with dementia.
3Bridges are also committed to work towards creating Age and Dementia Inclusive Neighbourhoods. Starting small they are ensuring that as an organisation they understand dementia, while building relationships with local clubs, schools, businesses, council, police and community in general to influence and create positive change. Hurstville Westfield is one of their first partners determined to implement changes and enable people living with dementia to be more independent when visiting the centre.
If you would like to find out more on how to engage or contribute to our Aged and Dementia Inclusive Community work, please contact Dragana Bozinovski on 1300 327 434.