Never too ‘gone’ for connection

AWARD-winning documentary maker and international dementia expert Michael Verde is returning to Melville to present community information sessions on how to support people living with dementia and their loved ones.

After his sell-out shows in Melville in 2017 and 2019, Mr Verde will return on Monday (November 6) to hold the community information session Dementia Without Loneliness and a special screening of the documentary Love is Listening: Dementia Without Loneliness.

In 2008 Verde founded Memory Bridge, which has connected more than 8000 people with dementia and people without dementia to each other. 

Memory Bridge’s programs are hosted on three continents and provide education to caregivers in 14 countries.

Verde’s information session will explore the factors contributing to the emotional isolation of people living with dementia and how we can mitigate this with person-centred communication.

The doco Love is Listening addresses the central challenge of dementia – the loneliness that comes with communicative and emotional separation from the everyday world.

The film explores how we can surmount this challenge as care partners, friends and neighbours of people living with dementia.

It premiered in London in early 2019 and has been selected for screening in several film festivals around the world.

Melville community development officer Deena Lazzari says the community information session and documentary would help show that everyone has the capacity to create connections with people living with dementia.

• International dementia expert Michael Verde.

“Although many of us know someone living with dementia, many still struggle to connect with loved ones living with this condition,” Ms Lazzari says.

Dementia Without Loneliness shows that the emotional isolation individuals living with dementia often experience is due to feelings of loneliness and disconnection, and demonstrates how we can reconnect and provide a sense of belonging that breaks down the experience of emotional isolation.”

The City of Melville has been recorded as having the second-highest rate of dementia in WA. 

In 2020, 1442 individuals living with dementia were recorded in Melville, projected to more than triple to 4814 by 2050, according to Deloitte Access Economics.

The City of Melville in partnership with Westfield Booragoon facilitated WA’s first Memory Cafe, a social gathering for people with dementia and their carers, who meet on the last Tuesday of every month at Birue Café Westfield Booragoon from 10am-11am.

Melville mayor Katy Mair said the city was committed to supporting a community where all people belong, are included and can enjoy equal opportunity in all areas of life.

“Our city has the second-highest number of people living with dementia in Western Australia, and we have a number of programs and initiatives to support people living with dementia and their loved ones, including Memory Café, the Melville Age Friendly Accessible Business Network and dementia-awareness training for staff,” she said.

“We believe that by recognising and promoting our community’s diversity and supporting everyone to participate and be included, we can contribute to a richer community life and social justice.”

Dementia is the second leading cause of death of all Australians, and is the leading cause of death of women in Australia. There is no cure.

In 2023 it is estimated that more than 1.5 million people in Australia are involved in the care of someone living with dementia. Two in three people with dementia are thought to be living in the community.

The Dementia Without Loneliness presentation is on Monday (November 6) from 10am-11:30am at the Melville Civic Centre, 10 Almondbury Road in Booragoon.

The Love is Listening: Dementia Without Loneliness screening with Q&A is on Monday (November 6) from 6pm-8:30pm at the Melville Civic Centre. Register at

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