Kiama Dementia Friendly Project project wins WHO award

Kiama councillor Kathy Rice (second from left) with the award at the WHO conference.
Kiama councillor Kathy Rice (second from left) with the award at the WHO conference.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognised the efforts of Kiama council’s Health Plan and in particular the Kiama Dementia Friendly Project.

Kiama councillor Kathy Rice recently received the council’s award at the seventh Global Conference of the Alliance for Healthy Cities at Wonju City, South Korea.

“It’s a great honour to be able to receive this award from the WHO in recognition of Kiama council’s best practice in health,” Cr Rice said.

“It really confirms the world-class standard of the work being guided by Kiama's Health Plan.

“This work strives to ensure that all citizens are able to access those opportunities that promote health.

“The presentation of the award before 500 international delegates has also extended the worldwide recognition of the Dementia Friendly Kiama Project."

The Kiama Dementia Friendly Project commenced in July 2014 when Kiama council was approached by Alzheimer’s Australia and the University of Wollongong to take part in a pilot that would see Kiama work towards being one of Australia’s first Dementia Friendly Communities. 

A Dementia Friendly Community is a place where people living with dementia are supported to live a high-quality of life with meaning, purpose and value.

The first activity of the project featured researchers from UOW learning what it is like to live in Kiama for people with dementia.

This guided subsequent work such as:

•improving signage, access to transport, businesses and other services; 

•access to community activities and reduction of the stigma associated with dementia; 

•general community education and specialist education for local medical services and businesses.

Funding has been secured to continue the project into the next phase, moving from a Dementia Friendly Community to a Dementia Enabling Community.

The Kiama project is structured around two main groups. The first is the Dementia Friendly Alliance. The other is the Dementia Advisory Group.