Dementia-Friendly Orange

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Kim McLean from Orange City Council, Dementia Advocate Russell Martin and Sam Vennard, Seniors Village Hub Project Leader

Dementia Advocate Russell Martin co-presented a workshop in February to promote the development of a Dementia-Friendly Community in his hometown of Orange, New South Wales.

Anthony Parker from Dementia Australia’s Dementia-Friendly Communities team joined Russell, who spoke about his experience living with dementia and then discussed his aspirations for a more inclusive, enabling and supportive local community.

Russell mentioned that because he uses a cane due to the vision impairment caused by the type of dementia he has, he receives very good support from people and services wherever he goes.

“As soon as people see the cane, they can’t do enough to help me, but that’s not the case for people living with most forms of dementia,” Russell said.

He spoke of dementia being a mostly invisible condition that most people don’t recognise, and how it’s so important that we bridge the gap between the support given to people with visible disabilities as opposed to those with dementia.  

The workshop was very well received, with 38 people including community members, representatives of local service providers, two staff from Orange City Council and one Councillor attending.

Russell mingled with many of the attendees to continue the conversation following the workshop.

As a direct result of the workshop, a Dementia-Friendly Community Alliance will be formed in Orange, coordinated by Orange City Council and supported by community members and service providers.

Russell plans to take a leading role in the Alliance, as it works towards a more inclusive, enabling and supportive community in Orange. 

Photo: Dementia Advocate Russell Martin with Kim McLean, Orange City Council and Sam Vennard, Seniors Village Hub

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