Supporting happiness

CONTRARY to popular belief, people living with dementia can still lead happy and rewarding lives through the establishment of supportive environments.

As September is Dementia Awareness Month, now is the ideal time is address the misconceptions surrounding the condition.

Whether it be an uncle, a friend or a grandparent or mother, we have all had experience with dementia in some shape or form.

Affecting approximately 354,000 Australians, dementia has become one of the most significant issues we face as society.

Additionally, more than 50 per cent of aged care residents are currently living with dementia and by 2030 it is predicted dementia will be the third greatest source of health spending in Australia.

Glenorchy’s Glenview Community Services goes a long way to establish a supportive environment for residents living with dementia.

An advocate for dementia awareness, Glenview chief executive officer Lucy O’Flaherty acknowledged the importance of removing the stigma surrounding the medical condition.

“Our dementia environments are dedicated to maintain quality of life for all people living with the condition, always taking the time to involve clients and residents in events and activities,” she said.

“We don’t shy away from the topic of dementia, and invite open discussions between clients, residents and families.

“The first step towards improving dementia care is removing confusion and negative stigma, which can only be done by talking.”

Looking at dementia care to date, a tendency to victimise and dismiss people has only helped to perpetuate inadequate treatment.

However, by establishing a supportive environment, it is possible to facilitate enjoyable and rewarding lives, Ms O’Flaherty said.

“Card games may become simpler, checkers may be substituted for chess and classic movies may take place over new releases, however fun experiences are always achievable,” she said.

Recognising the enjoyment residents with dementia receive from reliving memories, Glenview has also begun calling for the donation of old iPods to fill with memorable hits of the past.

The initiative was sparked by recent studies showing overwhelmingly positive responses from aged care residents when given iPod shuffles filled with classic music from the 1940s.

“In one case a man with advanced dementia became highly animated and spoke in detail about how the music made him feel despite being previously unresponsive,” Ms O’Flaherty said.

Glenview is opening its doors to the local community this month when it holds a dementia information session hosted by Ros Calvert of Dementia Tasmania.

The free event, to be held on Monday 12 September, will be followed by an informal question and answer session.

To reserve your seat email or call 6277 8800.

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About the Author: Glenorchy Gazette

The Glenorchy Gazette is your monthly community newspaper, reaching over 24,000 homes and businesses in the Glenorchy municipality. It is the product of Nicolas Turner, Justine Brazil, Ben Hope, Simon Andrews, Tobias Hinds and guest contributors, with support from advertisers.

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