Council Services / Community

Central Coast Council - Dealing with Dementia

Dementia is a progressive brain syndrome that affects memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. Through dementia, people lose their memories, cognitive abilities, control over emotions and behaviour. But what does dementia have to do with councils?

Dementia has a devastating impact on the individual sufferer, but also there is a broad social impact too.

Under section 20 of the Local Government Act 1993, councils are committed to provide for the health, safety and welfare of their community. Councils can play a proactive role to enable a Dementia friendly community; as demonstrated by Central Coast Council.

CCC Dementia Figure 3
Figure 3:- Dementia-Friendly Central Coast Working Group (L-R): Mary Robertson and Denise Chaston (Tasmanian Health Services), Louise Jones (Central Coast Council), Lorise Evision (Central Coast Adult Day Centre), Sue Atkinson (Community representative), Holly Mitchell and Belinda Schultz (Respect Aged Care), Agnes Banim (People Living with Dementia), General Manager Sandra Ayton and Mayor Jan Bonde (Central Coast Council), Declan Banim (Carers), Chris Mead (Agency Arts Health).

The Group developed a ‘menu of actions’ able to be implemented by Council or other government agencies, carers and local businesses, which will effectively assist dementia sufferers, including:  

  • dementia-friendly finance
  • workplace peer support
  • memory cafe
  • men’s sheds
  • online information portal
  • dementia-friendly shops
  • slow shopping
  • accompanied walks
  • urban planning and design
  • dementia awareness in schools
  • volunteer respite
  • intergenerational learning

In one practical example, to enhance dementia awareness in customer service, training is being developed to deliver to local businesses in 2018, that will lead to a dementia-friendly certification for participating businesses in the Ulverstone area. Dementia-friendly shops will be able to be identified by a window decal, featuring the Dementia-Friendly Central Coast logo. 

CCC Dementia Fig 2
Figure 2: The 'Dementia Friendly Central Coast Framework' includes this alarming estimate of likely increase in dementia in the council area.

Central Coast Council’s work on dementia is assisted by a Liveable Communities Program grant, from the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Sport, Recreation and Communities Division. Funding will specifically be used to establish a creative arts program and development of a Memory Café in 2018. Memory Cafes provide an opportunity for people with dementia, carers and the community to interact together.

There is much enthusiasm and interest in the dementia-friendly project among the Central Coast community, the Working Group and Council. Council looks forward to continuing to work with the community to create their vision of a dementia friendly Central Coast.