People living with dementia in the Dubbo community are finding links to the past and their “voice” as they visit artworks and museum exhibits.
Monthly tours of Western Plains Cultural Centre (WPCC) are providing paths to treasured memories and keeping participants socially engaged in a safe place, organisers report.
The program entering its fifth year sees Dementia Australia working with WPCC.
Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain.
There are an estimated 146,007 people living with dementia in NSW, Dementia Australia reports.
On Monday WPCC’s first dementia art tour for 2019 took place with trained and passionate volunteer guides Sally Forsstrom and Colleen Whiteley leading the way.
Ms Forsstrom said during her years in the role, she had seen artworks stir memories.
“We had some beautiful paintings from Tasmania, and somebody suddenly connected with their past memories of a trip to Tasmania,” she said.
“It’s a two-way interaction, I gain as well as the person we’re guiding through.”
Dubbo-based Dementia Australia carer and community educator Jenny Roberts said the program aimed to keep people with dementia socially engaged, giving them a purpose and an opportunity to express themselves.
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Ms Roberts said the tours provided benefits to both people living with dementia and their carers.
It was respite for carers, who could leave for the hour and attend to appointments or have some “me time”, she said.
“But it’s also good for the person with the dementia that they can actually have a voice,” she said.
“Sometimes carers do a lot of talking for them, in support of them and advocating for them, but it’s nice they can have one-on-one time by themselves as well.”
Bookings for the tours are essential and can be made with Ms Roberts on 0407 615 480. People with dementia from neighbouring towns are also able to attend.
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