Ballarat’s Bigger Hearts Dementia Alliance digital inclusion project

22 September 2020

Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle and Member for Wendouree today announced a $20,000 grant for the Digital Inclusion Social Connection (DI-SC) Project, helping people living with dementia and their carers address social isolation through digital technology.

With the closure of many formal and informal meeting places under COVID restrictions there is a greater need for people to stay connected. There are many digital platforms that can meet the need for social connection, however, many older people may not be able to access these.

The DI-SC Project brings together volunteer groups, community programs, aged care services and research capability in Ballarat to address social isolation for people impacted by dementia through digital technology.

The $20,000 grant will be spent on purchasing devices and internet access for people living with dementia and their carers. In addition, through a wide network of volunteers and significant local partnerships Bigger Hearts Dementia Alliance will use trained, volunteer, dementia aware, digital mentors to help support the use of these technologies.

The grant has been announced during Dementia Action Week 2020 which has its focus that many people living with dementia can continue to live well for many years after their diagnosis.

Dementia affects close to half a million Australians and that number is set to double in the next 25 years. An estimated 70 per cent of people who live with dementia, live in the community. It is our role as a community to do what we can to support people living with dementia to live well for as long as possible.

Under COVID-19 people impacted by dementia have a heightened at risk of being both physically and virtually excluded from society because of physical distancing. The DI-SC project aims to address this social isolation and keep those living with dementia and their carers connected to our community.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Ageing Luke Donnellan

“Connecting with our loved ones is vital to our wellbeing and we all have a role to play in supporting those around us. That’s why we’re supporting innovative projects like this that are working to keep Victorians living with dementia and their carers connected.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle

“Keeping connected has become more challenging recently. There are many ways to stay socially connected online and helping communities jump into the digital world can make a big impact on their lives.”

“Dementia Action Week is time to reflect on how we as a community can help people living with dementia and their carers stay connected and participate fully.”

 Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison

“I’d like to thank the Bigger Hearts Dementia Alliance for their tireless advocacy in support of people living with dementia and their carers. This is an important and practical project that will make a real difference to their lives.””

Quotes attributable to Bigger Hearts Dementia Alliance

“This project demonstrates what can happen in a city like Ballarat when we come together and collaborate to help others.” Associate Professor Mark Yates from BIRCH.

“Bigger Hearts Dementia Alliance is very excited about receiving the Victorian Government $20,000 grant for the Digital Inclusion – Social Connection project. It will provide groundbreaking support to people living with dementia and carers to live more connected, interactive and stimulating lives. The level of community, partnership and volunteer support for DI-SC is an indicator of its relevance and the need to provide more support to this isolated and vulnerable grou