University of Tasmania

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Identifying dementia friendly community strengths through authentic engagement

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 16:48 authored by Helen Courtney-PrattHelen Courtney-Pratt, Kathleen DohertyKathleen Doherty, Mathison, K

Practical and/or theoretical implications of this presentation: In order to determine pathways toward dementia friendly communities it is critical to consult with different members of those communities to understand their perspectives. This presentation uses a world cafe approach to distil directly from the community understandings of strengths and capacity to address issues relevant to their local context.

The importance of including people living with dementia when developing dementia friendly communities is well established. However, there are some concerns that inclusion remains superficial and requires greater, authentic engagement of people truly representative of those living with dementia (Swaffer 2014). Through delivery of community workshops in four discreet geographical areas we sought to identify the strengths and enablers specific to individual communities which underpin a dementia friendly future. People with dementia, their family members, representatives from aged care and the community attended the workshops. Following the world café structure (Fouche & Light 2010) attendees moved around tables whilst addressing core questions about the strengths in their community and how they might be utilised to support continued growth and movement toward becoming dementia friendly. The facilitated workshops were intended to assist in developing shared understandings and collaborative learning about the local opportunities and inform future research directions.

This collaborative project illustrated the different needs of diverse communities in regional and urban settings. In these action oriented communities, common themes also emerged including concern for the invisible, and a perceived need for permission to act. Both themes encapsulate a recognition within communities of the need to be proactive. In particular, community members wanted to reach out to people with dementia and their carers and foster reconnection to community.

To foster continued engagement and self-direction, participants identified the format and dissemination of findings in order that they could use them. Importantly, the outcomes provided a framework for action which aligned with community aspirations.


Publication title

49th AAG Conference


Wicking Dementia Research Education Centre

Event title

49th AAG Conference

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Date of Event (End Date)


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Socio-economic Objectives

Health education and promotion

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