Dementia-friendly community

Article image - Dementia-friendly community Dementia-Friendly Connect Café provides a pop-up weekly offering of entertainment and social support for patrons.

Located between Devonport and Burnie, Central Coast Council is the 2019 winner of the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) Award for Excellence for larger councils.

Dementia is now the leading cause of death in Australia and is also one of the fastest growing health conditions nationally.  

The LGAT award recognised the Dementia-Friendly Central Coast Framework as the first of its kind to be adopted by a Tasmanian Council, taking into account population forecasts that would see the population of people living with dementia in the Central Coast more than double by the year 2037.  

Many communities are facing an aging population and the Framework, as part of the Central Coast’s active aging journey, provides a roadmap in response to dementia challenges.  

The Dementia-Friendly project includes an Action Plan based around local priorities for change and five principles:

  • People with dementia are valued and respected members of the community.
  • Creating a dementia-friendly community is everybody’s business.
  • Places, businesses and services are welcoming and enabling for people living with dementia.
  • Community decisions respond to the needs and aspirations of people with dementia and their carers.

Becoming a dementia-friendly community is an ongoing process.

An initiative of the Dementia-Friendly Central Coast project is the Connect Café.  The innovative and popular pop-up cafés are held weekly and provide a supporting environment for people living with dementia, carers and the broader community to share a cuppa together.

As well as a chance for a cuppa, the café also offers pet therapy, singing and other entertainment, including circus performance and craft workshops.

Dementia Inclusion Training is another key initiative of the project.  
Council developed the training with the Tasmanian Health Services for local businesses and community groups to increase knowledge about dementia and reduce stigma and social isolation.  

The training includes a project planning workshop on adapting services to make them more dementia-friendly.  

When projects are complete, participants receive a Dementia-Friendly shop front accreditation sticker as well as a welcome mat and staff badges.