Rhonda Parker is the CEO of Alzheimer’s WA, a not for profit organisation dedicated to education, advocacy, research and support of Western Australians living with dementia. Respected widely for her leadership, drive and professionalism, Rhonda has been a leading contributor to community development in policy, program and practice in Australia for over 20 years, particularly in the area of ageing, ageing well, aged care and dementia.
Rhonda has had responsibility in the not-for-profit, government and academic environments. She is a former Minister in the Western Australian Government, where she had responsibility for the community development and senior’s portfolios, among others. She led the development of the first National Healthy Ageing Strategy in 2000, served on the Board of the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency and was Australia’s first Federal Aged Care Commissioner. She is a Director on the Board for Aged and Community Services.
Rhonda has been CEO of Alzheimer’s WA for the last 5 years.
Integrating Age Friendly and Dementia Friendly – The Western Australian Approach to Dementia Friendly Communities
In 2013 Alzheimer’s WA partnered with the Government of Western Australia to commence creating Australia’s first dementia friendly state. Similar to many other parts of the world, dementia is quickly becoming Western Australia’s number one health and disability burden issue. With approximately 70% of people living with dementia at home and continuing to access their community a new approach to community support and inclusion is needed.
Western Australia has had a strong Government response to Age Friendly Communities for well over a decade with many innovative and far reaching programs. Alzheimer’s WA recognized that it was important to respect and value this work. Rather than compete or duplicate with a dementia friendly approach, it would be sooner adopted and far more sustainable if the principles and activities of dementia friendly communities and age friendly communities could be integrated.
This presentation will explore this unique collaborative approach and present findings from a study involving 300 people living with dementia across Western Australia into the lived experience of dementia in the community; the enablers, disablers and priority areas for change. It will also identify opportunities for a new and integrated model that enhances the aged friendly approach by ensuring the needs of people living with dementia are identified and included. The paper will identify key strategies for incorporating dementia friendly principles into aged friendly community planning and focus on 4 key themes; Inclusion, Physical Access, Connection and Stigma