To address this situation a new website, Dementia Illawarra, will be launched on Thursday 27 November by UOW, together with the Illawarra Dementia Services Network, the Illawarra Forum, people living with dementia and their carers.
“The website acts as a portal of social and support services for people living with dementia in the local area, including services specifically for younger onset dementia and multicultural communities. It also provides resources for health professionals and a calendar of education, support and social activities,” Dr Lyn Phillipson, from the Centre for Health Initiatives, said.
“Dementia Illawarra promotes living well with dementia in the local community. There are links to different care options, carer support, counselling and the steps to assessment and diagnosis.”
UOW Professor Helen Hasan, an expert in information systems, knowledge management and human computer interaction, was involved in the development of the website.
“We tested the site with people living with dementia, their carers and health professionals and used their feedback to refine the site and ensure it meets the needs of the different audiences,” she said.
Ms Val Fell, Support Group Leader for the Corrimal Dementia Carers, said she often receives calls from people newly diagnosed with dementia and their carers.
“It is wonderful that I can now direct them to this website as it helps connect them to local services and events like carer support groups,” she said.
As well as enabling people to connect with local services, Dementia Illawarra has information on dementia friendly environments and the Dementia Friendly Kiama initiative. The website will continue to evolve and improve to meet local needs.
The website was initially developed by UOW and the Illawarra Forum as a service provider website for the Illawarra Dementia Services Network with the help of a UOW community engagement grant. As part of a new UOW Global Challenges project, Dementia Friendly Kiama, the website has expanded to provide information and resources for people living with dementia, their carers and supporters.
Note to media: Audio/visual opportunity at the launch event on Thursday 27 November, 11.30am – 12.30pm, in Room 112, ITAMS building 233, Innovation Campus, University of Wollongong, Squires Way, Fairy Meadow.
Media contact: Dr Lyn Phillipson, +61 2 4221 4417 or +61 431 533 060.