ANNE Tudor and Edie Mayhew feel their hearts are bigger from sharing their journey with younger on-set dementia across the world. Now, they want their hometown’s hearts to grow a little more in a campaign for a dementia-friendly Ballarat.
The couple will launch the Bigger Hearts project on Tuesday, sparking conversations among businesses, community groups and individuals to consider how they could be more welcoming of people living with a cognitive impairment.
Anne and Edie are spreading heart-shaped postcards about business, encouraging people to write on them and share their ideas for a more dementia-friendly Ballarat.
Edie, aged 65, was diagnosed with dementia about six years ago.
“We were inspired to share with the community about the real challenges of living with dementia and at the same time try to find the positive in each situation,” Edie said. “Bigger Hearts is a great way for us to engage with many people in Ballarat and talk about how everyone can play a role in working towards a dementia-friendly community.”
Anne and Edie met with staff at The Western Hotel when The Courier met them amid campaign preparations last week. They said it was important for people living with dementia, their families and carers, to feel comfortable going to their favourite places.
Bigger Hearts raises awareness that a person with dementia might be a little slower in deciding what to order, or confused by the process of what to do in shops. The campaign aims to prevent awkward experiences, embarrassment or stress that a person with dementia would otherwise avoid by staying home more.
Anne and Edie have shared their experience in national and international conferences but this time wanted to work on a community initiative. This time their goal is to form a Ballarat dementia alliance.
Meanwhile, Alzheimer’s Australia will host a dementia healthcare expo, featuring a talk from leading dementia expert Mark Yates, at Ballarat Community Health in Lucas on Thursday.