BALLARAT Dementia Alliance has given a tick of approval for moves to make the city’s biggest indoor shopping precinct more dementia-friendly.
Dementia advocate Anne Tudor said a walk-through Stockland Wendouree redevelopments with centre management blew away alliance members, made up of people living with dementia and community advocates.
Ms Tudor, whose partner Edie Mayhew has early-onset dementia, said a redesigned quiet room would make an incredible difference in shopping experience and set a new standard in busy community precincts.
“We like that the quiet space is going to be shared with others, like children or adults with autism,” Ms Tudor said.
A shopping centre is not an easy place to navigate with dementia...Just knowing this space will be there is going to make an enormous difference.Anne Tudor, Ballarat Dementia Alliance
Ms Tudor and Ms Mayhew played lead roles in the Bigger Hearts campaign launch two years ago, in a push to make Ballarat a dementia-friendly city. Part of the ongoing campaign focus is on promoting education in hospitality and retail for serving customers with dementia.
Bigger Hearts aims to prevent awkward experiences, embarrassment or stress that a person with dementia would otherwise avoid by staying home more.
Ms Tudor said seemingly simple changes at Stockland Wendouree helped to continue building on awareness. Ms Tudor hoped there would be potential for group support meetings at cafes in the centre.
- READ MORE:What is Bigger Hearts?
Stockland Wendouree centre manager Stevie Wright said the shopping centre was happy to support dementia and other community groups to create an inclusive environment.
“We recognise socialising in a retail environment is very important and we’re very supportive of trying to improve this,” Ms Wright said.
Stockland Wendouree’s $37 million highly-anticipated new wings are on schedule to open mid-year. The redeveloped centre will also feature two new inclusive play spaces for children of all abilities.