It is predicted that by 2050, there will be close to 900,000 people living with dementia in Australia. This is a significant increase as compared to the 342,800 Australians currently living with the disease. Dementia is a growing problem and it is growing at a rapid rate. Thankfully, one in-home aged care provider is making a serious difference by working to create a dementia-friendly Australia. This year, Home Instead Senior Care has introduced a national public education program to assist businesses in Australia to become more dementia-friendly.
The purpose of the program is to help businesses understand dementia through training and education and to assist in making changes that will have a positive impact on those with dementia. “Awareness, understanding and acceptance of dementia is so important but we want to take it a step further and put this understanding into practice. We assist businesses with changing their systems in regards to communication, lighting, signage and environment – all of which can have a huge impact,” says Martin Warner, owner of Home Instead Senior Care in Australia.
“Many people that suffer from demetia can become isolated and unfortunately, we as Australians are implicit in this. If people living with dementia do not feel supported in their local community and face barriers to social inclusion, it is all too easy for them to shut off from society, which only exacerbates their feelings of confusion and loneliness,” says Martin.
The definition of a dementia-friendly community, as stated by Home Instead, is a place where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported and can continue to contribute to community life. “We want people with dementia to feel included, involved, encouraged and supported in their community. It is so vital that they can retain their independence, choice and control over their day-to-day lives,” says Martin.
The national public education program involves a free thirty minute training workshop with Home Instead Senior Care educators who will teach employees and employers how to maintain a dementia friendly environment. The session covers everything from how to identify someone with dementia to how to communicate with them and how to support them in their service experience. This is not a one-off session and training will be available on an on-going basis. Home Instead Senior Care awards participating businesses with a formal certificate of training to certify that the business has completed the training and is actively creating a dementia friendly Australia.
Home Instead Senior Care have been running a similar program in the UK and have reached over 20,000 people since 2012. In Australia, the team hope to match and indeed surpass that number.
In June 2015, Home Instead Senior Care began their pilot program in Brisbane, with the likes of Woolworths, Kmart, Wallace Bishop, Taking Shape Fashion and Brisbane City Council Library all participated in the training. This year, Home Instead are taking the program Australia-wide with workshops in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
Kmart Toowong in Brisbane’s Inner West is working towards becoming a Dementia Friendly business, with 10 team members who have completed the training to date. Store Manager, Kim Esposito said Kmart is committed to supporting our diverse customers visiting the store.
“We are always looking at how we can better support our customers in their shopping experience so we were very pleased to participate in Home Instead’s dementia-friendly training. Being aware of the challenges people with dementia face will allow us to be more supportive of members in the community and make Kmart Toowong a more dementia-friendly store to shop in.”
Dementia care, education, awareness, advocacy and support is a long-standing commitment of Home Instead Senior Care. In 2007, they developed the first specialist dementia care training program for CAREGivers in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Australia, providing them the knowledge, skills and understanding to best support someone with dementia at home. In 2011, they developed their resource guide for carers and families of which they distribute over 50,000 copies year. In 2014 they launched a family dementia education program along with the advanced dementia care training program for CAREGivers.
In 2015, we are extending our efforts in the fight against dementia to increase awareness and understanding of the disease for communities as a whole,” says Martin.
For more information on Home Instead Senior Care visit www.homeinstead.com.au
About Home Instead Senior Care:
Home Instead Senior Care was founded in Nebraska in 1994 by Paul and Lori Hogan. Martin and Sarah Warner founded Home Instead in Australia in 2004. It is now a global home care franchise with offices throughout Europe, Asia and the Pacific. With 20 offices in Australia, Home Instead is a growing business that prides itself on providing much-needed care to senior citizens. The services offered by Home Instead's carers include personal assistance with day-to-day activities including eating, dressing and showering, and services such as grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions and housekeeping duties.