There are an estimated 2584 people living with dementia in Ballarat.
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And this figure is expected to increase to 10,610 by 2050 while Grampians wide the numbers will rise to 15,000.
But now they have extra support with the formation of the Ballarat Local Dementia Alliance, created to oversee the formation of a dementia friendly region.
It was formed after locals Edie Mayhew and Anne Tudor launched the Bigger Hearts project, which challenges the stigma around dementia and builds community support for people living with dementia.
Ms Mayhew, aged 65, was diagnosed with dementia about six years ago and said they formed Bigger Hearts to talk about the challenges of living with dementia but also about finding the positives in every negative.
The alliance was launched on Wednesday by Ballarat MP Catherine King, who said the thousands of local dementia patients needed family and friend support.
“That might seem a statement of the obvious,” Ms King said.
“The reality is, though, that the research shows people with dementia are twice as likely not to see friends and are twice as likely to experience loneliness.
“Somethings family and friends can find it challenging when loved ones are suffering from dementia and may not be sure how to approach the situation.
“It seems to be the case that, in some circumstances, people just don’t know how to respond to someone living with dementia.
“At the same time some people living with dementia internalise this stigma. They don’t tell anyone they have dementia. As a result, they miss important human connection and support services.”
Ms King welcomed the alliance’s formation to help create a dementia-friendly Ballarat over the coming years.
The importance of building dementia-friendly communities was highlighted by a recent Alzheimer’s Australia report, which describes how many of of the 353,800 Australians living with dementia feel socially isolated and want a more dementia-friendly community.
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