PHYSICALLY, Nick Locandro and his ride team feels ready to start pedalling home from Uluru on Monday.
Already seeing the signs for what they are trying to achieve, dementia awareness, buoys their spirits and fuels their motivation.
Locandro has been working closely with Ballarat businesses in how they can become dementia-friendly. Europa Cafe, The Western and Bank of Melbourne Ballarat branch have trained staff to be more alert and patient with customers who might be living with dementia.
Locandro, a National Road Series professional cyclist, starts A Ride to Remember in the place where the Locandros had their last family holiday.
His dad Sam Locandro was diagnosed with an aggressive younger onset dementia aged 54. Locandro said diagnosis made him fast realise dementia was a disease that could affect young, active and healthy adults.
From his family experience, Locandro said life did not stop – maintaining connections and independence was important to people affected by dementia.
Bank of Melbourne is Victoria’s first dementia-friendly bank. Ballarat branch manager Robert Kerr said all staff had been trained via a partnership with Dementia Australia, but staff felt it was important to keep a grassroots focus.
Mr Kerr said the branch had been exploring ways to further support dementia awareness in the community and promoting Locandro and his ride was a key part of this.
“We want to help people who have dementia in panning ahead financially and in remaining as independent as they can,” Mr Kerr said. “We’ve been getting involved with local community organisations in dementia awareness and promoting in the branch what Nick is doing as we talk with customers.
“Nick is all about awareness and we want to support him on his ride as well.”
Statewide, Bank of Melbourne is also upgrading banking systems to keep a record to better help customers who are living with dementia.
Locandro said gradually the tide was turning in social awareness. He said people could learn to pick up the cues for a person who might be living with dementia, but ultimately it came back to show patience, understanding and being mindful of others – qualities Locandro hoped people showed every day.
Ballarat riders Jarrod King and Jamie Huggett will join Locandro on the 200-kilometre ride. More details, visit A Ride to Remember – Uluru to Ballarat on Facebook.
For more details, look for A Ride to Remember on mycause.com.au.
You can become a Dementia Australia dementia friend here. The short online course equips people to have a better understanding of dementia, so they are empowered to do small, everyday things that can make a difference to someone with dementia.
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