BARBARA Brookes is facing the early stages of a dementia diagnosis. Ms Brookes said she felt “as bright as anything”, goes for walks everyday and enjoys a social coffee with friends.
She said a new documentary, filmed in Ballarat, comforted her in a sense, knowing there were lots of places she could go for support. She also realised there was a growing awareness about people living with dementia in Ballarat, especially in the time since her mum lived with the condition.
“I was surprised about it (the film),” Ms Brookes said. “It’s a day-to-day thing for me … I get my friend to write out what days we are going walking together – I know we always leave at 8.30am, but the days can change. It’s the little things.”
Bigger Hearts project released a film on Thursday, where people from a broad cross-section of community have a one-on-one conversations to a person living with dementia. Their shared stories and daily experiences were captured on film to promote a more dementia-friendly region.
Leading Senior Constable Janine Walker was one of the ‘story catchers’ shared the finished product in a Neighbourhood Watch coffee club gathering, which Ms Brookes was attending.
Watching the complete documentary proved moving for Leading Senior Constable Walker, who joined the project to help foster awareness in her role with the Ballarat police proactive unit and in her seniors portfolio for the division.
The first key things she learned was people live with dementia, rather than suffer with dementia, and that members can speak directly with people who have dementia, rather than only referring to carers.
“There is no reason why people with dementia can’t be included in all sorts of activities and events in our community, “ Leading Senior Constable Walker said. “I especially enjoyed listening to the stories and learning about the lives of the people I met, beyond the fact that they are living with dementia...My conversation truly was an eye-opener, engaging a member of the community who, even though is living with dementia, can still have a fruitful conversation.”
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