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A pilot program at Bidyadanga

Aboriginal people with dementia spend their twilight years on traditional country

In remote Indigenous communities access to aged care services, in particular dementia-specific support, is limited or even non-existent. There is a pressing need for improved services and greater awareness and understanding of dementia among Aboriginal communities.

Data suggests dementia prevalence in Indigenous communities is three to five times higher than the rest of the population, and diagnosis is common in people as young as 45. As in the broader community, understanding of dementia is poor. Some Indigenous languages do not have a word for dementia.

For residents of Bidyadanga, and other remote Aboriginal communities, accessing services often means travelling long distances and extended stays separated from family and country. Family separation and removal from country and culture can have a detrimental impact on wellbeing.

In 2016 Alzheimer’s WA partnered with Bidyadanga Community Council and Kimberley Aged Care Services to pilot a project to develop a program to build capacity within the Bidyadanga community and care providers. The aim was to extend the capacity to care for elders with dementia on country as much as possible.

Read more about the pilot project at Bidyadanga (ABC News).

Watch the video produced by reporter Erin Parke for the ABC News

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