The formal recognition by Alzheimers NZ was made at a celebration event at the venue on May 21.
Alzheimers NZ chief executive, Catherine Hall, said being recognised as Working to be Dementia Friendly is a major achievement.
She said the number of New Zealanders with dementia is expected to nearly triple in coming years, making the condition one of the country’s most serious healthcare challenges and a major threat to the existing healthcare system.
“The sad fact is, if you are diagnosed with dementia, you are very likely to encounter stigma, fear and misunderstanding about dementia. At a time when you need them the most – the people around you, including your whānau and friends, very often drop away from you."
“Most people diagnosed with dementia live at home in their local community for most of their time with the condition, and they need our help. That’s why it’s so important that we do all we can to make New Zealand a more dementia friendly society, one that’s more accepting and understanding of people living with dementia.
“And it’s very pleasing to see the Picton Library and Service Centre Waitohi Whare Mātauranga commit so positively and so strongly to that cause. Libraries and service centres are important community facilities. By working to become dementia friendly you are helping to make the dementia journey a little easier, more inclusive and supported for people living with dementia in your community.”
The librarian/customer service supervisor at Picton Library and Service Centre Waitohi Whare Mātauranga, Elisabeth Marrow, said they engaged in Alzheimers NZ’s Dementia Friendly Recognition Programme, facilitated by an Alzheimers Marlborough staff member, to ensure they could better meet the needs of their community members who live with dementia.
“We know that more and more people in our community are being diagnosed with dementia and, as the community heart, we need to reflect those needs. By working to be dementia friendly we are helping to create more user-friendly facilities for this very important group of people.”
Picton Library and Service Centre Waitohi Whare Mātauranga is the first library in New Zealand to be formally recognised by Alzheimers NZ as Working to be Dementia Friendly.
Ms Hall said she sincerely hopes their leadership in this space “will motivate your colleagues in libraries across the country to get on board with the dementia friendly conversation too.”
LIANZA supported a Dementia Friendly Libraries Kickstarter by Dovetale Press in October 2019 to raise funds to enable public libraries to receive six sets of five Dovetale Press dementia-friendly books. Public libraries applied to be part of the LIANZA Dementia Friendly Book Groups. In early 2020 12 participating libraries, received sets of books, joined a community of practice, and received some training supported by founders and editors of Dovetale Press Dr Sally Rimkeit, psychogeriatrician, and Dr Gillian Claridge, an applied linguist. Lis Marrow was part of this initiative in her former role at ElthamPlus in Taranaki.
LIANZA Executive Director, Ana Pickering says, “It was wonderful to see the passion that librarians from Westland to Waimakariri, Eltham to Auckland brought to this work, despite the challenges of the pandemic. It is fantastic to see that Lis continues this focus when she moved to Picton, and this recognition by Alzheimers NZ will be an inspiration to other public libraries.”