Dementia Awareness Call To Politicians
10 September 2015 at 10:55 am
Governments across Australia have been urged to show leadership in encouraging Australians to become dementia-aware and to develop a better understanding of what it is like for a person to live with dementia.
The call came in a motion to Federal Parliament Wednesday to coincide with Dementia Awareness Month calling on all governments to create communities where people with dementia are supported to live a high quality of life with meaning, purpose and value.
The motion was put by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert who welcomed the support of the Parliament.
“In Australia there are 342,800 people and their families living with dementia and this number will grow into the future, this is a significant part of our community experiencing or living with dementia and they need our utmost support,” she told Pro Bono Australia News.
“It is essential that all levels of Government work with the community to increase awareness of dementia and develop dementia friendly communities.
“In doing this we ensure that people with dementia live a higher quality of life with meaning, purpose and value.
"Individuals, families and communities are all affected by dementia – it is essential that long term planning and investment decisions are made now, in order to ensure that we are prepared for the increase in the number of people with dementia in coming years.”
Alzheimer’s Australia has released a Dementia-Friendly Communities White Paper which outlines the benefits of creating a more inclusive, dementia-friendly society.
“While government support of start-up programs is required, and political leadership is important, change begins and ends with all of us. At Alzheimer’s Australia we encourage everyone to realise the benefits that come from creating a more inclusive society for people living with dementia,” Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Carol Bennett said.
“A dementia-friendly community is something that has to be developed to meet the needs of individuals within their communities. It needs to be owned by locals, but driven by people living with dementia and their carers and families.”
The Not for Profit has formed a Parliamentary Friends of Dementia group which will be co-convened by Federal MPs Teresa Gambaro and Shayne Neumann.
Bennett said politicians can and should take a lead in their local communities.
“The intention of launching the White Paper in Canberra is partly to encourage Members of Parliament and Senators to understand the importance of dementia-friendly principles, and to think about how they might adopt these principles in their own electorates,” she said.
“It is also to support all our political, business and community leaders in the establishment of more dementia-friendly communities across Australia.”
A full copy of the white paper, Dementia-Friendly Communities can be found HERE.