Six-week art program to spark a link for people with dementia

ARTISTIC: Orange Regional Gallery will host guided tours as part of the Spark a Connection dementia program.
ARTISTIC: Orange Regional Gallery will host guided tours as part of the Spark a Connection dementia program.

A six-week art program will be run in Orange to assist people with dementia.

Orange City Council launched its Spark a Connection project on Tuesday.

It is seeking to find people diagnosed with dementia and people caring for someone with dementia to get involved.

Spark a Connection will start on Friday September 21, which is World Alzheimer’s Day, and run over six Friday mornings before finishing with an art exhibition on Saturday November 3.

Orange Mayor Reg Kidd said it would be run by council and Dementia Australia.

He said it was designed to “ignite a link between creativity and memory” for people with dementia.

“Council is pleased to provide support to an ageing population and to bring enjoyment to those living with dementia and their carers in our community,” he said.

It will feature a series of guided Orange Regional Gallery tours and creative art workshops for people with dementia plus respite and education program for carers.

Council’s Services Policy committee chair Cr Stephen Nugent said it was important people with dementia and their carers could remain involved in the community.

You can register for the program or seek more information by emailing arodwell@orange.nsw.gov.au or phoning 6393 8053.

A report by Dementia Australia said dementia was the second leading cause of death for Australians contributing to 5.4 per cent of male deaths and 10.6 per cent of female deaths.

Since 2016 it has been the biggest cause of female deaths in Australia.

It said there were currently about 425,000 people in Australia with dementia.

The report said on average 36 people a day died from dementia in 2016.

Dr Kaele Stokes, Executive Director Consumer Engagement, Policy and Research at Dementia Australia, said links between social connection and health and well-being were well established.

She said there was also increasing research showing social isolation accelerates cognitive decline in ageing people.

“We recognise that programs and creative activities of a similar nature [to Spark a Connection] have historically encouraged social interaction, built connections in the local community and helped participants to learn new skills, which have a positive impact on the well-being of someone living with dementia,” she said.

“We also encourage people to attend for the opportunity to meet other carers, families and friends of people living with dementia who share a similar experience and can provide important links to local support services, ” Dr Stokes said.

The National Dementia Helpline is 1800 100 500.

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