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Locally Supported by 

Wilfred & Hunter

Kirsty Porter

Founder of Umbrella Dementia Cafés and 
The Age Of Senescence.com

 

Kirsty has been a qualified nurse for nearly 20 years, working both in Australia and the United Kingdom.  Having completed a Bachelor of Nursing and a Post Graduate degree in Aged Care Services Management, with specific in interests in Organisational Change Management, Kirsty has practiced in areas such as aged care, disability care, chronic care, domiciliary and mental health within both the public, commercial and private health care sectors.

 

Her career journey has also incorporated working within a multi-national blue chip organisation Johnson & Johnson Medical, and as a Business Development Manager at Platinum Home Care before returning to Australia in 2008 to raise her young family.  More about Kirsty Porter can be found on LinkedIn. 

 

 Kirsty Porter.  
Founder Umbrella Dementia CafésKirsty Porter. Founder Umbrella Dementia Cafés

In 2016, while visiting and holidaying in the UK with family in January 2016, my husband and I visited an established community dementia cafe, called the Pabulum Dementia Cafe.   We recognised immediately the power of this group; they not only had a strong sense of community, but individuals living with dementia were happier, coping better and were better supported by their immediate community.  And as a result, they were living longer in their own homes.   While visiting Pabulum, I also discovered that every activity created by this marvellous group was 100% person-centred.  It meant that every activity was created based on the actual interests of the individuals who attended the café, such as wood work, gardening, bowls, craft and of course, singing.  And with over 80 couples attending the café this has been no mean feat for the volunteers who run the Pabulum Café every week!!  

 

Upon returning home to Australia, I recognised a significant dementia awareness disparity between that of the United Kingdom and Australia.  So, I dedicated 2016 to full-time research and meeting with community groups to better understand the Australian dementia support system.  Further, I also used a blog website forum to publish my work.  But despite my greatest efforts to remain quietly blogging and researching, a few persuasive community leaders really challenged me to create a dementia social peer-support group of our own in Blackburn, Melbourne.  

 

And so I did.  It didn't take long before a support group emerged, helped mostly by the keen interest of two people, Charity D. and Phil S.  Together, Charity and I named the café; The Umbrella Dementia Cafe.  And so it was, it opened its doors at One. Community Church on the 25th October 2016 with a resounding and an overwhelming success. With out hesitation every person who helped me create that day cheered “let’s do it again!"

 

And it's without a doubt that the true magic of these cafés lies in the solid foundation of this incredible Blackburn community!  They could not be put together without their support! Three cheers to this beautiful village.  See more about the volunteers here.

 

Now as we emerge as a solid community group, I am determined to see dementia more represented socially, culturally and communally in Australia, working together to towards a more connected dementia-friendly society.

 

 

 

Developing the CaféDeveloping the Café

 

 

Thank you Pabulum Café! With love, KP