Social inclusion is very important for people living with dementia as being socially active can boost your brain health and improve your emotional wellbeing.
Unfortunately, many people with dementia feel more isolated since their diagnosis. They describe friends falling away and they stop being invited to events. Some people with dementia avoid social situations as they are worried about how others will treat them, or about being embarrassed.
If you, or someone you support has dementia, we encourage you to reach out to friends, even if you weren’t usually the person who did the organising.
Find out how others have ensured they keep socially active:
Socially inclusive initiatives
As part of Social Inclusion Week, we are showcasing some important national programs that support social engagement of older people and people living with dementia.
Dementia Friendly Communities
The Dementia-Friendly Communities program, supported by Dementia Australia, aims to work with local community members and businesses to develop inclusive communities that enable people to live well with dementia. The program also aims to reduce the stigma, isolation and discrimination experienced by many people living with dementia.
Dementia-Friendly Communities involve people living with dementia and their supporters/carers.
Explore your community. Find your local Dementia Alliance and see which organisations and businesses are making your community more inclusive.
If your community is not currently active in this movement, consider how you could get involved to help create a Dementia Alliance in your area. Contact Dementia Australia on 1800 100 500.
OPAN Stay Connected
Older Person’s Advocacy Network detail a number of wonderful initiatives under their Stay Connected program. One of these is the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS). This Australian Government initiative aims to reduce loneliness and isolation of older people via volunteer visitors.
Visitors are matched to the older person based on shared interests, and if requested, cultural background, gender and sexual orientation. Volunteer visitors make regular contact and provide friendship and companionship. The program is beneficial for both the volunteers and the older people.
You can request to have a visit or become a volunteer visitor via OPAN or contact the Stay Connected and Supported Line on 1800 001 321 8am – 8pm AEST Monday to Friday.
The Australian Government initiative, FriendLine is for anyone who needs to reconnect or just wants a chat. All conversations with FriendLine are anonymous and their friendly volunteers are ready for a yarn and to share a story or two. Contact FriendLine on 1800 424 287
Be Connected – digital inclusion
Be Connected is an Australia wide initiative empowering all Australians to thrive in a digital world. They offer online learning resources and a network of community partners – the Be Connected Network – who can help you develop your digital skills and confidence. Find a local place for friendly help and advice. Some areas are now offering face-to-face lessons. Contact 1300 795 897 (9am-5am AEST).