What is dementia?

Dementia is the term used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses which cause a progressive decline in a person’s functioning.

It is a broad term used to describe a loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and physical functioning.

There are many types of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and Lewy Body disease.

Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65.

  • Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia and there is no cure. Heart disease is the leading cause.
  • Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians (aged 65 years or older) and the third leading cause of disability burden overall.
  • Melville has the second highest number of people living with dementia compared to other local governments in WA.
  • Melville has 23% of its populations aged over 65 years compared to the WA average which will reach 25% by 2041.
  • There are approximately 25,100 people in Australia with Younger Onset Dementia (a diagnosis of dementia under the age of 65; including people as young as 30).
  • Symptoms may not be immediately obvious but can include progressive and frequent memory loss, confusion, changes in personality, apathy and loss of ability to perform everyday tasks

A Memory Café is a wonderful way to break down the stigma for people living with dementia.

Social isolation remains a major issue for people following a diagnosis of dementia, and a memory café encourages people living with dementia to meet in a welcoming public space supporting them to remain socially connected. Often following a diagnosis of dementia, people lose contact with friends or family members, usually because people don’t understand enough about dementia and no longer know how to relate to the person. This ‘shrinkage’ of their social circle can be immensely stressful at what is an already difficult time.

The memory café at Coffea will provide an informal and social environment where people can feel welcomed and accepted. It may also provide the opportunity for people with dementia and their partners to make new friends while also learning about support services in the Melville area. These connections between people who understand what they are going through means they feel much more socially supported.

Alzheimer’s Australia WA is working to tackle the stigma and isolation which has been identified as a priority by people living with dementia and their carers. Their support of the café is invaluable, and the project is a great collaboration between Garden City/AMP, all of you at Coffea, City of Melville and Alzheimer’s, Australia WA.

For further information NATIONAL DEMENTIA HELPLINE: 1800 100 500 https://www.fightdementia.org.au/

View the videos

Video 1: The unspoken impact of dementia

Video 2: "The Queue​ Jumper"

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Have you had any experience responding and engaging with people living with dementia? How would you respond /engage with customers in your cafe?

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