Keeping alive the love after a dementia diagnosis is the key theme of next week’s Small Acts of Love Symposium.
It’s so important to ensure that people with dementia do not feel isolated or ashamed of their diagnosis and that they don’t become socially isolated.Dr Catherine Barrett
Held at the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute next Tuesday and Wednesday, the symposium will feature local, national and international speakers, including Creswick’s Glenda Hipwell.
They will share stories, told from the heart, which will help shape future service provision and dementia friendly communities.
Guest speakers will include National Alzheimer’s Australia Ambassador Sue Pieters-Hawke, and Christine Bryden and her husband Paul, who appeared on the ABC’s Australian Story.
Symposium coordinator Dr Catherine Barrett said while there is a national strategy focusing on the rights of people with dementia to quality of life with meaning and purpose, the reality was many people felt like they were no longer part of mainstream culture.
“The symposium will provide insights from people with dementia and their families about the experience of living with dementia and renegotiating connections in the face of dementia,” Dr Barrett said.
She was also pleased Victoria Police was taking part to co-present a workshop on upholding the rights and safety of people with dementia.
“The support of the police has been outstanding and this workshop will greatly advance the community’s understanding of the challenges faced by people affected by dementia – and how to promote their rights and ensure their safety,” Dr Barrett said.
“It’s so important to ensure that people with dementia do not feel isolated or ashamed of their diagnosis – and that they don’t become socially isolated as a result of stigma held in the community.
“This symposium will give everyone a better understanding of the human experience of dementia so that delegates can support services and communities to improve the quality of life for people with dementia.”