Advisory firm first to be dementia aware

Alzheimers Otago manager Liz Harburg gives Polson Higgs partner Jamie Reidie a certificate for...
Alzheimers Otago manager Liz Harburg gives Polson Higgs partner Jamie Reidie a certificate for taking on the pilot programme Dementia Aware. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
A Dunedin business is the first to "step and sign on" for a programme to provide support to people living with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimers Otago manager Liz Harburg said the business advisory firm Polson Higgs in Moray Pl was the first organisation to "step up and sign on" for the pilot programme Dementia Aware.

The programme was designed to help staff understand the illness and develop ways to support people living with the neurological condition.

Polson Higgs partner Jamie Reidie said about 80% of the team had completed their modules.

The programme had given insight into understanding both the condition and the way staff could be more proactive in the way they present information to its clients who were coping with dementia.

“It can be as simple as the structure of a sentence or the inclusion of written and oral language to help them process information. We were also pleased to find that our office layout and reception area are well suited to making people feel comfortable and not overwhelmed,” Mr Reidie said.

Ms Harburg said the programme took about two hours to complete and involved a combination of team tutoring and online training, alongside a pledge from management to introduce long-term policies to address the needs of those living with dementia.

More than 50million people lived with dementia globally.

Of those cases, Alzheimer’s accounted for about 65%.

Alzheimers Otago still has limited places for the pilot, which is funded by the Office of Seniors.

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