One of the most important steps in establishing dementia friendly communities is challenging stigma by encouraging people to talk about dementia.
In collaboration with Dementia Australia (Tasmanian Division), Dr Kathleen Doherty and Dr Helen Courtney-Pratt are currently working with people living with the impact of dementia to co-design a new resource, “Living with Dementia” conversation cards, to help get conversations about dementia started.
“We are working with people living with dementia to produce conversation cards specifically about dementia. The cards will feature short statements reflective of personal experiences of living with dementia complemented by an image chosen by that individual. On the reverse side of the card a key frequently asked question about dementia (questions typically generated during community engagement activities) will be posed with an answer and key helpline contacts and links to other resources will be included.”
The cards represent an ”invitation” to discuss dementia. Through creating the cards collaboratively, the experiences and feelings of people living with dementia will be made tangible, enabling the concepts and ideas to more easily be grasped, so they can be shared and discussed.
The cards will be used to stimulate conversation about dementia, pose questions and share knowledge, with a goal of reducing stigma through enhancing opportunities for discussion of dementia in a variety of settings. We envisage that they will be able to be used by community groups as discussion starters, with carer support groups and in other community settings.
This project is one of twenty one projects funded Australia wide by Dementia Australia Dementia Friendly Community Engagement Program grants in 2018. This program supports collaborative projects which meaningfully involve people living with dementia in the establishment of dementia friendly communities.