For Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams, tackling dementia in our community is one of her highest priorities and is urging the community to join other advocates to make us ‘dementia-friendly’.
Mrs Williams recently undertook a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Study Tour to investigate strategies utilised in the United Kingdom to address the challenges facing all levels of Government as a result of the increasing prevalence of dementia in our communities.
“As a consequence of the ageing population on the Mid North Coast there is a parallel increase in the proportion of the population who will experience age-related illnesses and diseases. In particular, dementia prevalence rates will increase significantly and the occurrence in the electorate of Port Macquarie will be particularly sizeable,” Mrs Williams said.
“In fact, of all the 93 electorates in New South Wales, Port Macquarie currently has the second highest prevalence of dementia and this is set to increase by 350% by 2050.
“Effectively responding to the challenges of these increases will require a sustainable whole-of-community approach and will need to include a comprehensive education campaign to raise community awareness about dementia and forward planning to ensure communities are well resourced to address the challenges as well as genuine support for people living with dementia and their carers.
“I believe that as a community we can work together to ensure people living with dementia have the highest possible quality of life – we need to become a dementia friendly community,” Mrs Williams said.
“Already in our local community a group of key stakeholders have met to develop a strategic plan to work towards this goal.
“A significant amount of work has been done in the UK to develop dementia friendly communities and the Mid North Coast could lead the way by raising awareness of dementia and by ensuring that people living with dementia and their carers feel included in our community,” Mrs Williams said.
During her visit Mrs Williams visited towns and cities to learn more about the programmes that have been implemented to make their communities dementia-friendly including Torquay, Bristol, Hampshire, Warwick, York and Killaloe.
Mrs Williams also took the opportunity to meet with key representatives of Alzheimer’s Society UK and the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland. As part of the study tour she also visited the Scottish Parliament and the Houses of the Oireachtas (Ireland) and whilst there met with officials to discuss their national Dementia Strategies.
This week is Dementia Awareness Week and Mrs Williams will be welcoming the new Minister for Ageing and Minister for Disabilities, the Hon John Ajaka for his first visit to the electorate on Friday.
Mrs Williams is also the co-convenor of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Dementia.
Posted on 18 Wed, September, 2013
by Leslie Williams