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DEMENTIA TOP PRIORITY THIS MONTH

IT has been four months since Nambour Hospital’s Acute Restorative Care (ARC) Unit commenced operation, but already, grand plans are on the horizon.

The team which provides care for frail older patients with complex cognitive issues is rallying the community this September as part of Dementia Awareness Month to raise much-needed funds for a specially-designed outdoor area to enhance patient care.

ARC Nurse Unit Manager Fran Brewster said the department, which was previously the Coast’s Paediatric Ward, was leading the move to develop an innovative dementia-friendly environment.

“We are planning to establish a purpose-built outdoor recreation area,” Ms Brewster said.

TeddyBearPicnicWebBannerNew-01“Artworks, a sensory garden and a mini workshop are just some of the ideas we expect to feature in the area.

“This type of stimulating therapeutic environment will be first on the Coast for dementia patients as a form of rehabilitation and restorative care, and will make a valuable contribution to the quality of life for our older patients, their self-respect and dignity.

“We just need to the funds to make this happen.”

The unit comprised of doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, social workers, and other health professionals, have teamed up with the Coast’s health foundation Wishlist to call on the community to dig deep for the cause which affects an increasing number of locals.

Currently, there are more than 413,106 Australians living with dementia that require specialist care to enhance their quality of life and Sunshine Coast Geriatrician Dr Kenneth Ng said that number is expected to grow to 536,164 by 2025.

“A person living with dementia needs to know they are not alone,” Dr Ng said.

“Our multidisciplinary team works with them, their carers and loved ones to focus on retained abilities to maximise quality of relationships and add value to their days.”

On October 29, Wishlist will be hosting a Teddy Bears’ Picnic at Cotton Tree Park with all proceeds to go towards building the dementia-friendly outdoor area.

The event will coincide with Grandparent’s Day and feature entertainment, family fun, food stalls, a jumping castle, games and more.

“It will be a great day for the community to join us and support this cause that may one day benefit someone in their family,” Ms Brewster added.

“Dementia can happen to anybody and while it is more common after the age of 65, people in their 40s and 50s can also be diagnosed with this illness which causes a loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and physical functioning.”

Consider donating today at www.wishlist.org.au or log on to find out more about the Wishlist Teddy Bears’ Picnic, sponsored by Just Better Care.