Narrabri’s journey to becoming a dementia-friendly community has taken many positive steps in the past couple of years, and the latest initiative will hopefully advance the cause a lot further.
The Narrabri Dementia Friendly Town committee, a group set up for that very purpose, has distributed 30 copies of a bestselling novel Still Alice around town.
The book, by Laura Genova, tells the story of a 50-year-old woman, a university professor, suffering from early-onset dementia.
It details not only her struggles, but the effect on her family as well as the way the public treats Alzheimer’s sufferers.
Still Alice has since been made into a movie starring Julianne Moore (who won an Academy Award for her role), Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart.
That will also be screened in Narrabri next month.
But in the leadup, the committee hopes locals will pick up one of the copies of the books from a variety of outlets around town, read it, then do one of two things - either bring it back to where they ‘borrowed’ it from, or pass it on to someone else to read.
A similar initiative proved to be successful in Port Macquarie, where copies of the book popped up in lots of different and unexpected places, were picked up and read, and passed on again.
The topics in the book are particularly relevant to Narrabri, which the committee is striving to make as dementia-friendly as possible, including educating businesses and the public about how to make life easier for sufferers and their families.
Committee chairwoman Dot Craig said the books were initially available in doctors’ surgeries, both chemists, coffee shops, optometrists, physiotherapists, the Tourist Information Centre, Narrabri Library, HealthWISE and Narrabri Shire Council among other outlets.
“We hope people take the book, read and enjoy it, learn a bit about the effects of dementia and then either return the book or pass it on - as long as as many people as possible read it, that’s the main thing,” she said.