“It is important to remind ourselves that this is a human right for all”

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Since 2014, The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) has facilitated a regular Art and Dementia Program.

The program’s attendance has grown more than 500 per cent since that time and now runs five community programs each month for people with dementia who are living at home, with additional programs available for residential aged care, respite, and other community groups.

To celebrate QAGOMA being acknowledged as a dementia-friendly organisation by Dementia Australia we spoke with Program facilitator Debbie Brittain, who is a champion for life-long learning and access to the State’s Art Collection for all abilities.

“Dementia-friendly organisations demonstrate a commitment to supporting and enabling people living with dementia to remain active and engaged in normal daily experiences alongside other members of the community,” Debbie said.

“It is important to remind ourselves that this is a human right for all, and this should not change once a person is diagnosed with dementia.”

More than 70 QAGOMA staff have now voluntarily become Dementia Friends through Dementia Australia to better support gallery visitors who have dementia and improve their knowledge about dementia.

“Each organisation, large and small, can collectively make a huge difference in how people living with dementia navigate their day,” Debbie said.

“Another important outcome for organisations to be aware of is that care partners also benefit from experiencing dementia-friendly attitudes and behaviours. This also greatly improves their quality of daily life.”

Debbie said understanding more about dementia from those with a lived experience was an important step in the process.

“Take advice from those you meet who are living with dementia – there is not a one-size fits all solution to becoming dementia-friendly. To steal a quote ‘When you have met one person with dementia, you have met ONE person with dementia.’”

Are you interested in what this could look like in your community? The first step is to become a Dementia Friend. Find out more at www.dementiafriendly.org.au or call our National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500. This article originally appeared on the QAGOMA Blog.

Photo courtesy QAGOMA – Joe Ruckli | QAGOMA photography