As a museum without boundaries, Te Manawa welcomes everyone in our community. Most of the time a friendly greeting is enough, but some days we need to do a bit more for our visitors. For visitors with dementia, it’s up to us to make their visit as comfortable and safe as possible.
Te Manawa has been working with Alzheimers New Zealand to gain Dementia Friendly accreditation. This signals that both the museum and art gallery are safe, friendly, accepting and supportive places for people with dementia. It raises awareness of dementia in the wider public and dilutes some of the stigma surrounding it.
Last December Te Manawa was officially recognised as Working to be Dementia Friendly. This means we’re most of the way there: staff have been trained, our environments are accessible and our leadership is committed to the course. The work of becoming Dementia Friendly is constant as we re-evaluate attitudes and awareness, and look at our spaces in a new light.
The Covid-19 pandemic has provided extra challenges for people living with dementia, as a familiar world shifts and changes in unfamiliar ways. Adapting to visitors’ new needs will be one of the demands of post-pandemic life that we will face when Te Manawa opens to the public again on 18 May.