Council promotes Dementia Friendly Alliance in Tea Gardens – Hawks Nest

Community members Deborah Bastian, Pam Gilchrist, Robyn Mount with Lyndie Hepple and Christine Ellis from MidCoast Council. Absent: Kevin Green. Photo: supplied.

MIDCOAST Council has led the formation of a ‘Dementia Friendly Alliance’ in Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest, and is looking to recruit additional members and increase awareness of dementia-sufferers’ needs in the area.

Lyndie Hepple, Coordinator of Community Development at MidCoast Council, oversees the implementation of Council’s Ageing Strategy.

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“We investigate the feasibility of dementia-friendly communities and have successfully established Dementia Friendly Alliances in Taree, Forster and Tea Gardens, with a Gloucester group ready to kick off in the new year,” Ms Hepple said.

“Dementia Australia’s research shows that people living with dementia can often feel socially isolated following their diagnosis because friends and acquaintances don’t know enough about the disease and don’t know how to engage and include them.

“Education and awareness-raising therefore mark the first step towards making our communities dementia-friendly.

“The Tea Gardens Hawks Nest Dementia Friendly Alliance was formed following a workshop led by Dementia Australia in August, and comprises community members who are passionate about educating the community about dementia, working towards establishing social group activities, running dementia-friendly training, encouraging and assisting sporting, social and other organisations to become dementia-friendly, developing a list of important contacts and information, and providing more information for families and friends.”

The Myall Coast areas are currently supported by Dementia Australia’s 24-hour help line (1800 100 500), and local Dementia Advisory Service (DAS) through the Federal program ‘My Aged Care’.

“The Commonwealth Home Support Program offers advice and information to support people with a diagnosis of dementia, or family and friends of those people,” Ms Hepple explained.

“There is a My Aged Care service to the MidCoast LGA, and a Dementia Support Specialist from Dementia Australia is available, as well as the option of participating in a monthly support group held in Tea Gardens.”

For information about the social groups, contact Bonnie Dennis or Dana Rederis on 1300 658 830.

To learn more or join the Alliance, contact Lyndie Hepple at Council, or Christine Ellis at MidCoast Assist, on 7955 7777.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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