Hip hop and dementia form unlikely partnership to engage Indigenous youth

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6 July 2015

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic has partnered with the Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation and Indigenous Hip Hop Projects (IHHP) to develop an educational music dance video about dementia for young people.

The Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation provides services to local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in and around Heywood, Hamilton and Portland. The Heywood community in the far south west of Victoria welcomed the opportunity to partner with Alzheimer’s Australia Vic for this project.

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic is working to support young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to better understand dementia given that recent studies have shown dementia is three to five times more prevalent in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

IHHP is a team of hip hop and performing artists who work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities around Australia. The organisation is working with Alzheimer’s Australia Vic to raise awareness of dementia among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and young adults, as well as promoting active, healthy lifestyles.

A group of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from the Heywood community participated in a five-day workshop to develop the video last week, with the final product launched at a special closing event on Friday evening.

John Price, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Liaison Officer, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic said, “Music and dance have been found to provide a powerful way to engage with young people from a range of backgrounds. 

“We believe that combining interactive hip hop performances with health messages provides a unique opportunity to discuss sensitive health issues with young people in a fun and non-threatening way.

“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to engage with and empower young Indigenous people by developing this unique resource,” Mr Price said.

Nathan Lovett-Murray, community liaison person for the Heywood, Hamilton and Portland communities and the Gunditjmara people for this project said, “The young people in our community really got behind this project, it’s been fantastic. Our hope is that this will start to build capacity in the future to better manage dementia in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.”

The second stage of the project will see Alzheimer’s Australia Vic take the resource to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Victoria as an education aid.

The project is the result of an historic memorandum of understanding signed in 2013 by Alzheimer’s Australia Vic and the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO). The memorandum focuses on improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with dementia.

Notes to media

When writing or talking about dementia, please provide your audience with the number for our National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 - a telephone information and support service available across Australia.

What is appropriate language for talking about dementia and why do we need it?

The words used to talk about dementia can have a significant impact on how people with dementia are viewed and treated in our community. Please read our Dementia Language Guidelines that have been developed by people living with dementia and carers.

In Victoria more than 81,000 people are living with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic is the peak body and charity representing people with all forms of dementia in Victoria. As the peak body, we provide specialised dementia information, education and support services.

Call our National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or visit www.fightdementia.org.au/vic

Media contact: Stephanie Puls 9816 5745 / 0427 757 434 / [email protected]

Christine Bolt 9816 5772 / 0400 004 553 / [email protected]