Four towns have joined forces in the Myall Lakes area to work towards becoming a more dementia-friendly electorate. The Myall Lakes project, which includes the NSW towns of Taree/Wingham and Forster/Tuncurry, began in September 2015 with the development of two steering committees.
Initially, two focus groups were held to gather feedback via focus groups with community members impacted by dementia on what a dementia-friendly community should look like. The Dementia-Friendly Community Steering Committee was then formed and bi-monthly meetings scheduled.
The committees went on to work with local businesses, educating them on some of the dementia- friendly steps they can take, including the incorporation of dementia-friendly principles into their environments and service procedures, staff training, improved accessibility and inclusiveness. As a result of this work, two local businesses have already been given a dementia-friendly tick of approval.
Representatives also spent time presenting on the topic of dementia-friendly communities at a number of local community groups.
Thanks to this work, a number of local businesses have already been accredited as being dementia-friendly, including Ashlea Road Boutique, Betta Home Electrical, Wignham Gym, GPB Accountants & Business Advisors, Great Lakes Tackle Shop and Priceline Pharmacy Forster.
The official launch event of the project occurred on 4 September 2017, where the Steering Committee was pleased to see a strong commitment to the project's success.