‘Special place’: Anne Tudor and Melvin within the trail’s bush window which was made and donated by local business PO Box Designs. Photo: SUPPLIED

Advocating for a dementia-friendly Ballarat

September 14, 2021 BY

THE Bigger Hearts Dementia Alliance Ballarat is marking Dementia Awareness Month, and Dementia Action Week this September.

The not-for-profit’s co-founder Anne Tudor said the month is an opportunity to further promote the Alliance’s advocacy for a more dementia-friendly Ballarat that supports people with dementia, their carers, and improves their quality of life.

“Dementia is the primary cause of death of women, and overall the second cause of death for men and women behind heart disease, and it’s increasing all the time,” she said.

“If we can get rid of the stigma around dementia and get people talking about it then that’s fantastic, because it does impact the lives of people enormously, including family and loved ones.

“We’re here to walk beside them through that process, and we are so fortunate to have some experts in the field that are a part of the Alliance.”

Ryan’s IGA supermarkets at Mount Clear, Northway and Pleasant Park have selected Bigger Hearts Dementia Alliance Ballarat as one of their Community Rewards groups for the month of September.

The funds the organisation receives from the program be injected into projects led by Alliance members which are “enriching the quality of life for people living with dementia in our region.”

“Ballarat does have a lot of community spirit, volunteerism and people who really care,” Ms Tudor said.

The Woowookarung Regional Park Dementia-Friendly Forest and Sensory Trail project was driven by Bigger Hearts Dementia Alliance Ballarat, and this space is open for the community to explore.

Members of the Ryans IGA team enjoyed walking it in recent weeks, listening to the native birds, seeing wallabies, and taking a photo within the trail’s bush window.

This big picture frame includes a quote from the late Edie Mayhew, Bigger Hearts’ co-founder, dementia advocate, and Ms Tudor’s partner; “The trees want to know how you are…”

Boardwalks, and interactive Green Script, and animal, QR code experiences are currently being installed along the trail, which has averaged 350 visitors a week since it opened a few months ago.

“The trail can only bring more respect for people impacted by dementia,” Ms Tudor said.

A special Alliance event for people with dementia, their families, carers and their partners, and the broader community – including a performance from the Bigger Hearts Choir – has been planned for Dementia Action Week at the Park.

This may be postponed to late-October to ensure COVID-safety. There is a plan to stream choir rehearsals to those unable to attend the event.

“There is a great deal of uncertainty, but whenever it will be, it will be a celebration for people primarily impacted by dementia,” Ms Tudor said.

Through their Facebook and Instagram networks, the Alliance will continue to share news, initiatives, and any Dementia Australia events while the community is in lockdown.

Dementia Action Week begins on Monday, 20 September. Visit facebook.com/BiggerHeartsDementiaAllianceBallarat for more information.

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