Nollamara Day Club giving value and purpose to people living with dementia

Alzheimer's WA chief executive Rhonda Parker, Violet Sujdovic (2), Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin with Poppy, Linda Kuuse (senior coordinator Day Club) with Cleo and Barbara Fisher. Photo: Martin Kennealey
Alzheimer's WA chief executive Rhonda Parker, Violet Sujdovic (2), Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin with Poppy, Linda Kuuse (senior coordinator Day Club) with Cleo and Barbara Fisher. Photo: Martin Kennealey

NOLLAMARA Day Club members who live with dementia have gained a “sense of value and purpose” through being active and engaging with a playgroup and dogs each week.

The club is the City of Stirling’s first dementia specific day club which has a partnership with Alzheimer’s WA.

City of Stirling day clubs senior coordinator Linda Kuuse developed a progressive care model three years ago after completing Alzheimer’s WA’s Dementia Champions program.

The model focused on empowering its members and giving them a sense of value and meaning through doing activities including fishing, cooking, gardening and craft, playing with dogs and mixing with a playgroup once a month.

Ms Kuuse urged local councils to get in touch with Alzheimer’s WA to discuss care models.

Jewel Adler and Shirley Long with Poppy. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d490435

“The referrals for people living with dementia seeking day club services in the City of Stirling has almost trebled in the past two years from 30 to 80 per cent,” she said.

“For our clients coming to use the service, they have all been strong individuals and have great families that have lived with them most of their lives.

“They have received this diagnosis or maybe a family member has and they go through a sense of grief while still being alive.

“It is very important that we not only deal with that but that we continue to value them as the person that they once were as well as who they are going to be.”

She said the day clubs in the City of Stirling, which served 382 people, would focus on community and increase staff training this year.

Nollamara Day Club.

Ms Parker, who joined Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin at a morning tea event on January 30, said staff understood that dementia altered the way people experience the world and learnt how they could offer well-being support for their clients.

“It is an evolution – you can’t just come in and do the garden and get everyone to read a few pages – it is a very continual process,” she said.

Cr Irwin said he was proud of how the club helped the community and created a “great family feel” at the centre.

The City and Alzheimer’s WA hosts the Memory Cafe for people living with dementia and their families at Coffee Club Innaloo on the first Tuesday of the month from 2.30pm.

There are currently 41,149 people living with dementia in WA.

For information, call Alzheimer’s WA’s customer support line on 1300 66 77 88 or visit www.alzheimerswa.org.au.