CELEBRATE Aging founder Catherine Barrett feels Ballarat has the perfect environment for the Bigger Hearts campaign to flourish. Dr Barrett said this city’s strong sense of community and support was key.
Ms Barrett will work closely with Ballarat couple Anne Tudor and Edie Mayhew in their mission to create a dementia-friendly Ballarat, starting with the two-month Bigger Hearts project that was launched at Ballarat North Neighbourhood House on Tuesday.
Dementia-friendly awareness is a concept Dr Barrett has seen play out in other cities but this one, with an arts approach, had a point of difference. Heart-shaped postcards are placed in key community based points around Ballarat will allow people to share their ideas how to improve the inclusiveness of this city.
“Lots of people know dementia is a terribly important issue and they want to help but are not sure how to do so,” Dr Barrett said. “This gives people a way to grab a hold of it...Ballarat just rallies. This is not just about saying how lives will be better for people living with dementia, and for their families, this project is about engaging people in many ways.”
The Bigger Heart campaign will also feature the making of a documentary, featuring 10 community members who will act as ‘story catchers’ learning from 10 people living with dementia.
Ms Barrett expected the story catchers to be quite moved and privileged and the finished result to be quite powerful. The film will be aired in a forum at Ballarat Town Hall, late in the campaign. The overall aim was to form a Ballarat Dementia Alliance.
Edie Mayhew, who has been diagnosed with younger on-set dementia, said it was incredible to have so much community support, and heart, behind the campaign launch to get conversations started.
The Project host Gorgi Coghlan led a moving performance of I Will Remember You, with support from Ballarat Centre of Music and the Arts. Young singers were later helping to share morning tea about the function.
For more details about project initiatives, including informal talks at The Turret Cafe, visit celebrateaging.com/biggerhearts.