City of New Westminster requesting input to enhance the quality of life for people living with dementia
New Westminster – Dementia-Friendly New West is hosting a community conversation on Saturday, October 3 between 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at Century House to raise public awareness about dementia, share the results of a recent survey and gain public input into the development of a Dementia-Friendly Community Action Plan.
The City of New Westminster, with funding support from the Province of British Columbia and in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of B.C. and Fraser Health, is one of the first municipalities in British Columbia to develop such a plan.
Research and community consultation will be used to inform the plan. To date, the City has conducted an extensive literature review and a survey, which involved over 50 residents living with dementia.
“The interest in this plan, not only locally but from across British Columbia, and the response to the survey, demonstrate the significance of this issue,” stated Mayor Jonathan Coté.
Based on the survey results, the vast majority of respondents felt somewhat or not involved in their community (81%) and somewhat or not connected to their neighbours (75%). Respondents also felt that people were somewhat or not knowledgeable about dementia (91%) and that people with dementia were viewed somewhat or not positively (91%).
“The survey results strongly suggest that social isolation is a real issue for people living with dementia,” stated John Stark, City of New Westminster Senior Social Planner. “The lack of public awareness about dementia and the stigma associated with it, as well as barriers in the built environment and limited programming options, are all significant contributing factors.”
Gwilym Davies, who is living with dementia, is an important part of the working group tasked with developing the plan and one of the panellists. “We need to create opportunities to involve and connect people with dementia,” said Davies. “We have lots to contribute and want to be accepted and make a difference.”
The event will include presentations, a panel discussion and resource tables, as well as interactive activities to engage residents in sharing their ideas. Participating organizations include the Alzheimer Society of B.C., City of New Westminster Parks, Culture and Recreation, Fraser Health Specialized Seniors Clinic and Seniors Services Society. Please note that doors open at 10:00 a.m. and light refreshments will be served.
Senior Social Planner
City of New Westminster
firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-515-3777