October 24 - 30, 2021: Issue 515


Council working towards becoming a dementia-friendly organisation

October 21, 2021

Council has been recognised by Dementia Australia as being on its way to becoming a dementia-friendly organisation.

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said he is very proud that Council is undertaking the necessary steps, including training staff, on how to better interact with the community who have dementia.

“We want the Northern Beaches to be a place where people with dementia can continue to participate fully in community life.

“There are currently 6,313 people living with dementia on the Northern Beaches which is expected to more than double by 2058. 

“This means dementia is likely to have a bigger impact on our area as the proportion of residents aged 65+ is greater than other parts of Sydney.

“We are currently training our staff to have a greater understanding of the issues faced by people living with dementia,” Mayor Regan said. 

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe AM said creating dementia-friendly communities are vital to ensuring people who live with dementia can continue to participate and contribute to their community in ways that are important to them and to live well in the environment of their choosing.

“With 70 per cent or more of people with dementia living in the community, it is our responsibility to be inclusive of people with dementia, to value their contributions and to respect their rights to access the services and activities we all expect to enjoy,” Ms McCabe said.

“We commend Northern Beaches Council on their commitment and steps taken to make the Northern Beaches more inclusive for people living with dementia, their families and carers.”

One of Council’s main actions involves training 910 key frontline staff to become dementia aware by completing Dementia Australia’s online training titled Become a Dementia Friend.

So far Council is on track to reach its target of having 70% of frontline staff (637) trained by December with 120 staff completing the online modules to date. 

In line with our Community Strategic Plan, Council has developed a Dementia Friendly Organisation Action Plan to provide a clear roadmap to prioritise actions, remove barriers and ensure all areas of Council are dementia friendly. 

The Plan furthers Council’s commitment to build a dementia friendly community which began in 2019 with three-year funding for the Northern Beaches Dementia Alliance to implement a Dementia Friendly Community Action Plan. 

Initial actions from the Plan relate to staff training across the organisation and a review of several key facilities to make them more accessible to those living with Dementia.

Also, October marks Mental Health Month with a range of activities that raise awareness and support people suffering from a range of conditions.

The theme for this year’s Mental Health Month is “Tune In” which means being aware of what is happening within you, and in the world around you. Being present by tuning in has been shown to help build self-awareness, help make effective choices, reduce the impact of worry, and build positive connections.

For a full list of activities, visit Council's website.