Mapping dementia-friendly communities in the Illawarra

Mapping dementia-friendly communities in the Illawarra

Projects to map dementia-friendly communities and trial an innovative respite plan for carers are among the research projects funded in the latest round of grants from the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation (AADRF).

The two UOW projects shared in $2.4 million of research grants (announced yesterday 18 November), which will help us understand and address dementia and related illnesses.

Dr Chris Brennan-Horley, a human geographer in the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research at UOW, will work with Dr Lyn Phillipson to map dementia-friendly communities in Australia.

“This research program uses digital mapping technologies to enable us to map the places and spaces that matter for people living with dementia and their carers,” Dr Brennan-Horley said.

“This will be an Australian-first piece of research, which will assist us to identify important places in a number of different communities that are used and enjoyed every day by people living with dementia, and also those places that may present challenges.

“Maps and spatial technologies are excellent tools for understanding how people use places around them.”

Dr Brennan-Horley said funding from the AADRF would help his team apply the mapping technology to multiple communities.

Dr Phillipson, from the Centre for Health Initiatives, along with fellow UOW researchers and academics from Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland, was also awarded a grant from AADRF that aims to support family carers to access and use respite services in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.

“In Australia, there have been numerous barriers identified which limit carers use of respite services,” Dr Phillipson said.

“We are really excited to be the first team in Australian to conduct a comprehensive research intervention aimed at addressing these barriers and supporting the use of respite.”

The two research projects are part of a movement to create dementia-friendly communities throughout Australia. The initiatives were originally born out of the University of Wollongong’s Global Challenges Program, which aims to solve the major, complex problems facing our world through multidisciplinary research.

Media contacts: Dr Lyn Phillipson, +61 431 533 060, +61 2 4221 4773 and Dr Chris Brennan-Horley, +61 414 074 390. For general enquires, contact Elise Pitt, Media & PR Officer, UOW, +61 2 4221 3079, +61 422 959 953,