A space at Rotorua Library Te Aka Mauri will become a cosy poets' corner as part of activities planned for Dementia-Friendly Awareness Week.
The Community Pride Space on the ground floor will host Poetry from the Heart with Michelle Mills on Thursday, September 20 from 12.15 to 1pm and again from 5.30pm to 6.15pm.
The poetry readings are part of several activities planned in Rotorua for Dementia-Friendly Awareness Week which runs September 17 to 23.
Through her role as senior BUPA caregiver, Mills has learned a lot about dementia over the years.
"Dementia is becoming more prevalent and we are all going to know someone with dementia at some stage in our lives.
"The perception is that it is not a disease and it tends to not be taken seriously. It is mistakenly seen as part of the ageing process even though it also affects many younger people".
Mills has made a personal commitment to dementia and is determined to see the person before the disease and help sufferers and their families gain a deeper understanding and have a fulfilled life whether they are in care facilities or living in the community.
Her commitment is reflected not only in her job, but also in her beautiful and moving poetry.
The poetry happened almost by accident when BUPA, The Gardens and Redwood were finalists in the Westpac Business Awards. As part of their submission she wrote the poem, My Life, My Way which became the first poem in her book Poetry from the Heart.
She followed this up with Through My Eyes – a poem written through the eyes of someone with dementia. Her poetry continued to develop from there and with the support of BUPA, she published Poetry from the Heart which aims to help the community and dementia carers understand the different aspects and perspectives of dementia.
Her use of poetry to help the public understand dementia has seen Mills nominated for the Everyday Hero Award, an award to identify and reward everyday people doing extraordinary things in their local communities.
Members of the public are invited to come along on September 20 and listen to the free event and no bookings are required.
Find out more about this and other Dementia-Friendly Awareness Week activities on the Dementia Lakes Events Calendar - http://www.dementialakes.org.nz/events.html