Have you seen the amazing community garden outside Kalina House in Soward Way in Greenway?
It's smack bang opposite the Aldi driveway, and its eye-catching design and little details, from mushrooms to cute gnomes, are drawing people in from the community.
And that's just what Kalina House wants, the daycare centre for people with early onset dementia determined to be part of the community, not sequestered away from it.
The daycare centre is warm and welcoming. ABBA is playing softly in the background. There is a cafe. Piano here, AC/DC pinball machine there. A rack full of magazines. Games. Quiet places to sit. The ultimate place for adults of all ages and abilities.
The centre is run by not-for-profit Community Home Australia with director of clinical operations Nicole Smith saying it emphasised the person, not the dementia diagnosis. And if that meant their members helping out planting a garden or putting on a weekly barbecue for surrounding businesses, then that's what they did.
"We want them to give back," Ms Smith.
"Because that way they are seen and heard and are visible again."
The community garden came about after Kalina House was gifted 400 bulbs and 400 annuals as part of Floriade Community, taking the festival of spring into the suburbs.
Kalina House also houses an "intergenerational playgroup" in which parents and their children play at the centre with the members. Those children and parents also helped to build and plant the garden.
And the finished project has been a hit.
"It's brought so much attention," Ms Smith said.
"It shows people with dementia contributing positively to the community."
Community Home Australia has also recently rented a house at Nelligen on the south coast for two years to give their members some time away, with the support of staff, or to allow their carers some respite.
"Really, it's to give people the full experience of life," Ms Smith said.
Community Home Australia founder Dr Rodney Jilek said its way of helping people with dementia, by connecting them to their community, was now generating interest from overseas.
"[Particularly] having them being active participants in their community, not creating a village away somewhere else," he said.
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