According to Department of Health research, people with dementia are more vulnerable to elder abuse, sexual assault, financial, emotional and physical abuse, and neglect.
So next week’s Small Acts of Love Symposium in Ballarat will feature a workshop on Upholding the Rights of People with Dementia.
Presenters will include a retired police officer with dementia and police officers who have family members with dementia.
Former police officer Jill Bolen will facilitate the discussion, which will identify key issues for police interaction with people with dementia plus strategies to address these concerns.
Symposium curator Dr Catherine Barrett said the workshop will be filmed and used for police education and to promote awareness of police support for people with dementia.
Victoria Police western region community engagement coordinator Leading Senior Constable Janine Walker will also speak on the Ballarat and District Community Support Register.
“With Ballarat’s aging population more and more people are requiring police attendance and assistance,” Leading Senior Constable Walker said.
“More people are coming to police attention for having feelings of not being safe but which can often be the early signs of dementia that is not diagnosed yet.”
Leading Senior Constable Walker said the register, which is available to all older Ballarat adults, helps support people in the community living on their own.
People can register their next of kin, doctor’s name and health details on a confidential database which will be given to police, hospital, ambulance or the fire brigade in the event of an emergency.
“I’m very passionate about it (the register) and want to develop it further so there is something specific for people with dementia.”
To find out more information on the register, contact Leading Senior Constable Walker at the Ballarat West Police Station or go to nhwballarat.org/BDCSR.htm.
The symposium, focusing on dementia and love, will be held next Tuesday and Wednesday at the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute.
Local speakers will be joined by National Alzheimer’s Australia Ambassador Sue Pieters-Hawke and Christine Bryden and her husband Paul, who appeared on the ABC’s Australian Story.