Speech: Dementia Action Week

Speech: Dementia Action Week Main Image

Mrs PHILLIPS (Gilmore) (13:36):  This week is Dementia Action Week. In my electorate of Gilmore on the New South Wales South Coast, we have the second-highest number of people with dementia in Australia. I echo the words of Dementia Australia when I say that dementia doesn't discriminate. But we can change how we respond to, and behave around, people living with dementia. People with dementia are two times more likely not to see friends, compared with their carers and the general public, and three times more likely not to have a friend to call on for help. These are heartbreaking statistics. We need to stay connected to people living with dementia and find meaningful ways to engage with them so they don't feel isolated and alone.

I want to talk about a wonderful event I attended last year at Uniting Mayflower Village, Gerringong. The incredible, passionate and professional staff at this facility held a 'colour day' and put in a lot of effort to make this a magical day for their residents. Local schoolchildren came to spend some time with the residents and there were fun activities for everyone. It was amazing to see a whole-of-community event like this take place for the benefit of some of our most vulnerable. The day was all about inclusion, fun and happiness. There was even cake and plenty of colourful costumes. True community spirit was in the air, and I was pleased to meet with residents, aged-care workers, volunteers, the kids and their teachers to hear about how they are making this a wonderful home for residents.