Tweed Heads takes early steps towards becoming a dementia-friendly community

Tweed Heads, on the far north coast of New South Wales, has joined the nationwide movement towards becoming a dementia-friendly community. 

The project, launched in August 2016 under the auspice of Dementia Australia NSW, comprises the Tweet Dementia-Friendly Steering Committee which includes local people living with dementia and their carers, and a part-time project officer. 

Several more locals have joined a Dementia Action Group to work with organisations and businesses in helping them to become more dementia-friendly.

To date, (June 2017) two businesses in the beachside town of Kingscliff have received their dementia-friendly accreditation. Maddi and Lil Boutique, and Kingscliff Beach Bowling Club have each committed to incorporating dementia-friendly principles into their environments and service procedures, to improve accessibility and inclusiveness for people living with dementia and their carers.

Members of the Steering Committee conducted site visits with the two businesses, providing feedback about changes that could be made in order to become more dementia-friendly. Both businesses subsequently committed to making alterations to their physical environments and providing dementia-awareness training for staff, which obtained them the dementia-friendly tick of approval.

More local organisations are in the process of attaining dementia-friendly status including service organisations, such as Community Transport and Meals on Wheels, businesses including a shopping mall and real estate office, and several local churches. 

Organisations have also been keen to take up the offer of free education and information about dementia for staff and volunteers.