SYDNEY, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Brisbane Airport in Australia was named the world's first dementia-friendly airport on Wednesday by Alzheimer's Australia.
The Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have been working since 2015 to guide Brisbane Airport on making the facility supportive of those with the disease.
Lead investigator on the project, Dr Maria O'Reilly, told Xinhua that an increasing number of older people have begun to travel and service providers like airports need to be aware that people with dementia are using their services.
O'Reilly also explained that "people are being diagnosed earlier, who are fitter and healthier, who are still wanting to participate in all of life's experiences and there is no reason why they can't travel, just because they have been diagnosed with dementia."
The collaboration began when O'Reilly and her team at QUT investigated what air travel was like for people with dementia.
"Someone on our team got to know one of the airport's ambassadors and it turned out that they'd had quite a lot of experience with people that appeared to have dementia who were trying to get through the airport," O'Reilly said.
Brisbane Airport embraced the concepts of the dementia centre and began to work with the group on how to make the experience of air travel easier for Alzheimer sufferers.
"We conducted an environmental audit to figure out what would be the most difficult aspects of the airport," O'Reilly said.
Their research found things like "wayfinding" and training staff to have "better interactions" in order to help people who have dementia would greatly improve the experience.
"We're also developing the concept of setting up quiet spaces, so when people are getting very overwhelmed by all the sensory information that is coming in at an airport, they can calm down," O'Reilly said.
The Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration and the Brisbane Airport have also launched a travel guide aimed at helping sufferers prepare for a smooth journey.