Research has shown the best place for a person with memory loss is to continue to live in familiar surroundings.

For over 10 years, Home Instead has been committed to helping people with dementia to live in their familiar home and community environment through our specialist care, education, advocacy and support services for people with dementia and their families and carers.

In 2015, Home Instead is leading a new charge in the fight against dementia by supporting the creation of Dementia Friendly Communities.

Dementia Friendly Communities are places where people with dementia are supported to live quality lives with meaning, purpose and value within their local community. A place where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported, and can continue to contribute to community life. A community where people are aware of and understand dementia, and people with dementia feel included, involved and enabled to retain their independence and control over their lives.

Many people with dementia become isolated and do not feel supported or a part of their local community. Over time they become less able to take part in activities that they once enjoyed. For people with dementia, confidence, worry, fear and community accessibility are major barriers to their continuing social inclusion.

With the support from their local community – including local businesses and other community organisations, neighbours, friends and family – people with dementia can continue to live quality lives. To enable communities to assist and support people with dementia requires them to understand and be aware of how to assist and support someone who has dementia.

Home Instead’s first Dementia Friendly Project is underway in Brisbane’s western suburbs and we hope it is just the first of many Dementia Friendly Communities that we can assist in establishing across Australia.

Toowong Village is located in the heart of one of Brisbane’s oldest suburbs, where it provides a regular and familiar social environment for local residents. Inclusive of essential services, retail shopping, food court, a library, cafes and 13 floors of corporate offices it has 10.6 million annual shoppers.

For someone with dementia, Toowong Village is where they have conducted business and their shopping for years and despite the onset of dementia it will continue to be a key source of social engagement for them.  Having recently undergone a $50 million renovation, recent changes to the Toowong Village shopping centre could however be a cause of confusion and impact the confidence of someone with dementia.

Toowong Village is working with Home Instead to become Dementia Friendly. Local businesses, retailers, service providers, their employees, management and security are completing a specialist Dementia Friendly Community Training Program delivered by Home Instead to enable staff working in Toowong Village to better understand dementia, learn how to identify and effectively communicate with people who have dementia and apply strategies to support them in the community and their ongoing experience at Toowong Village.

Home Instead’s range of specialist dementia training programs for our CAREGivers, families, carers and communities have been developed in consultation with Alzheimer’s Australia.

For more information on becoming Dementia Friendly, contact your local Home Instead office.