Paul, from NSW, believes community engagement is vital to build dementia-friendly communities. #ItStartsWithYou
“Community engagement is essential for a person with dementia to sustain their sense of social inclusion and meaningful activity. City life for older people is challenged by a society that has no time to stop and worry about someone not knowing who or where they are.
The theme for this year’s dementia awareness month, Creating a dementia-friendly nation, brought to mind my experiences when caring for my wife in crowded community situations.
The demise of the family friendly corner store means people with dementia must negotiate huge shopping malls, impersonal self-service check-outs, disabled toilets in the wrong places, unmanned information desks, poor signage for where to find help, and maze challenging car parks.
Disorientation is common in these places, even if the person is with their carer. It can cause the person to wander off aimlessly, become panicked with risk of injury from a fall, most likely on an escalator. A number of these problems can be avoided if mall operators, retail and agency outlets adopt a common approach for assistance to carers and people with dementia.
Mall operators may find they will improve overall customer relations by taking a responsible approach to becoming a dementia-friendly nation. After all, some of today’s younger generation, whose custom they depend on, will become a future dementia statistic.”