• Better Practice Awards 2018
  • National Dementia Conference 2018
Human rights, disability and dementia

Human rights, disability and dementia

Dementia Alliance International Chair Kate Swaffer explains the significant effort required to implement The World Health Organisation’s Global Dementia Action Plan, adopted in 2017, and why human rights and the recognition of dementia as a disability must be reflected in all regional and national dementia strategies and plans. Continue Reading

The View From Here

The View From Here

Fred Graham, Sandra Jeavons, Liz Miles and Elizabeth Beattie introduce The View From Here, an evidence-based online training package suitable for all Australian hospitals to use in preparing their staff to provide quality care for patients with dementia. Continue Reading

Bedtime to breakfast and beyond

Bedtime to breakfast and beyond

What started as a program to improve the sleep of people with dementia at one Life Care site has led to a fundamental shift in how the South Australian aged care provider implements and embeds person-centred care for all residents with dementia, not just at night but 24 hours a day. Deborah Muldoon explains. Continue Reading

Re-designing texture modified foods

Re-designing texture modified foods

John Boland explains how LHI Retirement Services in South Australia has improved the mealtime experience for residents with dysphagia by changing the way texture-modified food is presented It is often said we eat with our eyes; the very first experience in the meal and dining process is the aromas emanating from the kitchen, together with… Continue Reading

The joy and freedom of dance

The joy and freedom of dance

  Gwen Korebrits, Amy Gajjar and Sarah Palmer introduce Dancewise, a movement program suitable for people at all stages of dementia who are living in care homes The Dance Health Alliance is a not-forprofit organisation which delivers a movement program in Australia developed specifically for people with a wide range of physical and cognitive challenges,… Continue Reading

Taking the risk: strategies to support getting out and about

Taking the risk: strategies to support getting out and about

How do aged care organisations balance their duty of care with the needs of people with dementia to continue to explore, understand their environment and remain as independent as possible? Rae Blackledge explains the creative strategies used at Elizabeth Lodge, in Sydney’s Kings Cross, to ‘bring the outside in’ and also enable residents to leave… Continue Reading

Staff engagement and upskilling enhances job, care quality

Staff engagement and upskilling enhances job, care quality

WA’s Brightwater Care Group has designed and implemented a workplace innovation, incorporating well-being mapping, which has shown tangible benefits in terms of the job quality of care workers and the quality of care. Wendy Hudson and Sue Jarrad report Direct care workers form the majority of the aged care workforce and are critical to the… Continue Reading

Nurses can make a difference: caring for those living with dementia

Nurses can make a difference: caring for those living with dementia

By TEAGAN BEWICK Bachelor of Science (Nursing) Edith Cowan University, WA Dementia is not an ordinary component of normal ageing. Dementia is characterised by a progressive deterioration of cognitive ability, displaying no distinct symptoms during early development but requiring ongoing assessment as it advances (Hunter, 2016). It demands the provision of personalised treatment and is… Continue Reading

Don’t forget the teeth: how can the dental discipline improve the care and well-being of people with dementia?

Don’t forget the teeth: how can the dental discipline improve the care and well-being of people with dementia?

By DANICA ZHAN Bachelor of Dental Science (Honours) University of Queensland Dementia is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that manifests as a decline in multiple areas of function, including memory, communication, and behavioural symptoms. Age is a major risk factor for dementia, and with the burgeoning aging population experiencing greater tooth retention, this corresponds to ever-growing… Continue Reading

ELERA Nursing Prize a token of heartfelt gratitude

ELERA Nursing Prize a token of heartfelt gratitude

The $300 ELERA Nursing Prize, won this year by Edith Cowan University student Teagan Bewick, is awarded in honour of the contribution of the nursing profession to the care and support of people living with dementia and their families and in memory of the prize donor’s parents, who both had dementia in late life and… Continue Reading

Using sensory stories with individuals with dementia

Using sensory stories with individuals with dementia

People with dementia are prone to sensory deprivation, but symptoms like irritability and confusion may be reduced by using multisensory life stories. Rebecca Leighton, Coralie Oddy and Joanna Grace describe two successful approaches to sensory life story work Download the Article: Click Here (PDF) A ‘sensory story’ is a concise narrative in which each section… Continue Reading

New resource helps hospitals focus on the person

Hospitals can be stressful and busy places, where someone with dementia may find communication especially challenging. Often a family carer is needed to help explain (and re-explain) issues to hospital staff, and assist them to understand the usual daily routines, needs, and preferences of the person with dementia. In consultation with consumers and an expert… Continue Reading

The DementiaKT Hub: translating research into practice

The DementiaKT Hub: translating research into practice

Belinda Goodenough and Tracy Higgins introduce The DementiaKT Hub – a new one-stop online destination for the latest research-based dementia resources involving DCRC expertise Seventeen years. This is the time lag calculated by a UK-based team as the average wait for a research discovery to impact upon health-related care and treatments (Morris et al 2011).… Continue Reading

Rethinking respite care

Rethinking respite care

Lyn Phillipson reports on an innovative project that is designed to support carers and people living with dementia to use respite services, as well as addressing the low uptake for these services Caring for a family member with dementia can be a positive experience (Carbonneau & Desrosiers 2010).  However, caring for someone with dementia has… Continue Reading

DTSCs aim to create Australia’s first ‘dementia enabling’ university

DTSCs aim to create Australia’s first ‘dementia enabling’ university

Richard Fleming, Lyn Phillipson, Kate Swaffer and Kara Cappetta report on an ambitious pilot project to develop Australia’s first ‘dementia enabling university’, at the University of Wollongong, NSW, where the aim is to inspire and equip students from a range of disciplines to address the growing challenge of dementia            … Continue Reading

Supporting the right to vote

Supporting the right to vote

With Australia’s Federal election to be held on July 2 this year, Bridget Howes considers how people living with dementia in residential aged care can be supported to exercise their right to vote. The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency accreditation standards require that aged care residents are able to exercise civic legal and consumer rights… Continue Reading

Igniting the Spark of Life

Igniting the Spark of Life

Five years after adopting the Spark of Life Philosophy to dementia care and three years after becoming the world’s first Spark of Life Centre of Excellence, New Zealand’s Mercy Parklands aged care home is continuing to report positive outcomes for residents with dementia, their families and staff. Helen Delmonte explains. Between 50-60% of our 97… Continue Reading

Shan Crosbie: What are the benefits of engaging with the visual arts in a gallery environment for people living with dementia in Australia?

Shan Crosbie: What are the benefits of engaging with the visual arts in a gallery environment for people living with dementia in Australia?

This essay aims to show that an engagement with the discipline of the visual arts has a vital role to play in the development of a dementia-friendly Australia. During my six-week internship at the Learning and Access department of the National Gallery of Australia (NGA), I was enchanted by the ‘Art and Dementia’ program and… Continue Reading

Giverny Witheridge – The dialogue of dementia

Giverny Witheridge – The dialogue of dementia

Dedicated to my Nonna and Nonno and Nan and Pop – who are living with dementia every day. One of the largest health issues facing older people, their families, service providers and governments in the 21st century is the increasing prevalence of dementia. The term dementia refers to a syndrome caused by disease of the… Continue Reading

Engaging and connecting through music: enablement in practice

Engaging and connecting through music: enablement in practice

Kirsty Beilharz is leading a program which makes music an integral part of relationship building and engagement for people with dementia by embedding it into the daily routine of residential life. In April 2014, HammondCare commenced a music engagement program with a particular focus on helping people living with dementia and enabling care staff to… Continue Reading

Inspiring action: checklist for culture change in aged care

Inspiring action: checklist for culture change in aged care

David Sheard outlines his assessment of the state of culture change in dementia care in Australia, based on findings from the Butterfly Care Homes’ 50-point checklist After presenting (via Skype) at the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency’s Better Practices Conferences in 2014, Dementia Care Matters Director of Learning Peter Priednieks and I arrived in Australia… Continue Reading

‘We are still gay…’: the needs of LGBT Australians with dementia

‘We are still gay…’: the needs of LGBT Australians with dementia

Catherine Barrett, Pauline Crameri, Sally Lambourne and JR Latham report on the results of their ground-breaking research into the experiences and needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) Australians living with dementia. The experiences and needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) Australians living with dementia have not previously been researched. This… Continue Reading

DIY guide to creating a sensory room

DIY guide to creating a sensory room

Aged care organisations and carers interested in learning more about creating and using multi-sensory environments (MSE) for people with dementia will find a wealth of information in a recent guide written by UK researchers Dr Anke Jakob and Dr Lesley Collier. How to make a sensory room for people living with dementia: a guide book… Continue Reading

Using one-page profiles to create care plans

Using one-page profiles to create care plans

Gill Bailey and Tanya Clover explain how one-page profiles can be used to deliver true person-centred care Pioneers of the principles of normalisation such as Bengt Nirje and Wolf Wolfensberger argued that disabled members of society deserve an equal standing and should be held with the same regard as those without disability. Person-centred thinking tools… Continue Reading

The freedom to imagine

The freedom to imagine

Susan Shortridge describes a creative storytelling program that allows people with dementia to communicate in imaginative ways Creating an environment in which people with dementia are invited to express themselves imaginatively, without judgment, reflects an important aspect of the person-centred care approach to health and well-being. The process of creative engagement can allow people with… Continue Reading

Playful care: what lies beyond the red nose

Playful care: what lies beyond the red nose

Michael Balfour, Kirsty Martin, Julie Dunn, Wendy Moyle, Marie Cooke and Judy Wollin discuss their work with Playful Engagement, an award-winning arts and health program for people in the mid- to advanced stages of dementia. Playful Engagement is an award-winning Australian arts and health partnership that seeks to affirm and celebrate personal identity, boost confidence… Continue Reading

Every picture tells a story

Every picture tells a story

As part of a series of articles looking at the role of art in releasing the creative potential of people with dementia, John Killick showcases the work of Australia’s Dr Julie Gross McAdam, founder of the McAdam Aged Care Art Recreation Therapy (MAC.ART) program. It involves participants translating their life stories into beautiful artworks, including… Continue Reading

Well-being: a strengths-based approach to dementia

Well-being: a strengths-based approach to dementia

G Allen Power discusses why the person-centred care philosophy has failed to become a reality for so many people and suggests alternatives to traditional approaches to dementia care The past two decades have seen the emergence of two parallel tracks of thought revolving around ageing issues. The first, usually credited to the late Tom Kitwood,… Continue Reading

Behind bars: the challenge of an ageing prison population

Behind bars: the challenge of an ageing prison population

A surge in the number of older people with dementia in Australia’s prisons has created complex ethical, legal and medical issues. AJDC covered the topic in this article in our August/September 2012 issue, looking at the challenges and solutions. Alzheimer’s Australia is continuing the discussion with the release of a new paper, Dementia in Prison.… Continue Reading

The power of language

The power of language

Changing the disrespectful and disempowering language often used to refer to people with dementia will help remove discrimination, stigma and isolation, writes Kate Swaffer. Language is powerful and important in discussions around providing person-centred care to people with dementia in a way that shows respect and dignity for the person. I often feel there is… Continue Reading

Knowledge translation matters

Knowledge translation matters

Belinda Goodenough provides a snapshot of highlights from the recent 2014 National Dementia Research Forum in Sydney. This year’s Dementia Collaborative Research Centres’ (DCRC) annual National Dementia Research Forum offered a smorgasbord of ideas and knowledge exchange on ways to get dementia research into practice and policy. Working together – knowledge translation matters was the… Continue Reading

Beyond bingo: tailoring lifestyle activities for people with dementia

Beyond bingo: tailoring lifestyle activities for people with dementia

Liz Miles and Heather Campbell discuss a successful national workshop program offering Diversional Therapists hands-on learning in music and art therapy, aromatherapy and life story work for people with dementia. While bingo may well have a place as an enjoyable activity in the life of many people, including those with dementia, for some it also… Continue Reading

Dementia and diet: modifiable risk factors and dietary prevention

By Sarah Belton Bachelor of Human Nutrition, University of Canberra Dementia is defined as an insidious and progressive neurodegenerative disease that slowly reduces memory, higher intellectual function, and cognitive performance in general. Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of symptoms caused by structural and chemical alterations in the brain, closely linked… Continue Reading

People living with dementia and the built environment

By Holly Keenan Bachelor of Public Health, University of Canberra Introduction Dementia is the term for a group of diseases affecting the brain. Dementia is progressive and irreversible, affecting cognitive, social, emotional and physical functions. Over 30 years, research (Marshall 2001; Fleming, Cookes & Sum 2008; Fleming & Purandare 2010) has proven that dementia-friendly environments… Continue Reading

Occupational therapy and falls prevention for people with dementia

By Monique McIntyre Master of Occupational Therapy, University of Canberra It is estimated that there are over 250,000 Australians living with dementia and this number is predicted to rise to close to one million people by 2050 (Access Economics 2011). Worldwide it is estimated that there are over 35 million people living with dementia and,… Continue Reading

Links between nutrition and dementia

By Serena Shaw Bachelor of Human Nutrition, University of Canberra “Dementia is a mental health disorder that is common in the elderly and has been associated with poor nutritional status”. Dementia is a mental health condition defined by the deterioration in mental cognition with the onset usually occurring later in life1. The disease causes problems… Continue Reading

Tapping into the heart of dementia care

By Tamara Keogh Master of Occupational Therapy, University of Canberra “It is not enough to give a patient [person] something to do with his [their] hands. You must reach for the heart as well as the hands. It’s the heart that really does the Healing” (Ruggles as cited in Carlova 1962, p250) Enabling people with… Continue Reading

Dietary Determinants of Dementia

By Brendan Hutchinson Bachelor of Science in Psychology University of Canberra Discuss the following statement providing evidence for nutrition-related factors associated with the development of dementia and translate this evidence into prevention strategies for the disease: “Dementia is a mental health disorder that is common in the elderly and has been associated with poor nutritional… Continue Reading

Public health interventions – dementia

By Brianan Jones Bachelor of Public Health, University of Canberra An estimated 322,000 Australians had dementia in 2013. Based on projections of the country’s population, ageing and growth, the number of people with dementia will reach almost 400,000 by 2020 and around 900,000 by 2050 (AIHW 2013). The care and management of people with dementia… Continue Reading

The role of occupational therapy for people with dementia in prison

By Connie Koh Master of Occupational Therapy, University of Canberra Introduction The growing number of prisoners with dementia presents challenges for the criminal justice system. While the exact percentage of older inmates with dementia is unknown, with figures ranging from 1 to 44 per cent (Maschi et al 2012), some researchers estimate that the prevalence… Continue Reading

Physiotherapist’s role in preventing dementia

Daniel Baltis Master of Physiotherapy, University of Canberra Dementia is currently Australia’s third leading cause of disability burden and is predicted to become the leading cause of disability by 2016 with an estimated threefold increase in people living with dementia to occur by 2050 (AIHW 2006; ABS 2008b). One factor which may contribute to this… Continue Reading

Dementia-friendly communities: Kiama project leads the way

Dementia-friendly communities: Kiama project leads the way

Lyn Phillipson and Glenn Rees discuss a new project launched in Kiama, NSW, which has the potential to change the way people with dementia in Australia interact with their social and physical environments A diagnosis of dementia often brings with it social isolation, stigma and discrimination. Alzheimer’s Australia is working to tackle these issues through helping… Continue Reading

Changing the Image of Care

Changing the Image of Care

Fiona Calvert describes the mission of internationally renowned photographer Cathy Greenblat and her experience in the life-embracing environment of Australia’s Starrett Lodge. After 35 years as a Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University in the United States, Cathy Greenblat took an early retirement and decided to pursue her interest in photography. Over a decade later,… Continue Reading

Jumping for Joy: Risk and Dementia

Jumping for Joy: Risk and Dementia

Excitement, adventure and an element of risk can, and should, be an important part of life for residents in aged care facilities, explains Colin McDonnell. Allan Rigby, 94, is a man who has lived a full life; he served in World War II, both within Australia and around the islands in the Pacific, and also… Continue Reading

Dementia-friendly communities: what consumers really want

Dementia-friendly communities: what consumers really want

How can communities become more accessible and supportive for people living with dementia? A series of Dementia Friendly Communities Consumer Forums in Adelaide has generated plenty of suggestions from people with dementia, carers, family members and service providers, Kathryn Cunningham (pictured) explains. “It’s a lonely and frustrating disease,” says David Anderson, a South Australian resident living with… Continue Reading

Men’s Sheds put out the welcome mat

Men’s Sheds put out the welcome mat

Stuart Torrance talks about the Every Bloke Needs A Shed program in NSW’s Hunter region for Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, which is giving men with early stage dementia a space to call their own Men are generally in the minority in aged care. According to a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, most… Continue Reading

Robots in Dementia Care

Robots in Dementia Care

Professor Wendy Moyle discusses the role of robots in dementia care, particularly the use of companion robots, which her research suggests have the potential to improve mood and quality of life of people with dementia. As a child I would run and hide behind the sofa whenever Dr Who came on television. Even though Dr Who… Continue Reading

Dementia and the impact of not driving

Dementia and the impact of not driving

Kate Swaffer, who lives with younger onset dementia, explains why, despite her sense of loss and grief at losing her licence, she believes people with dementia should not be allowed to drive. Driving is a powerful symbol of competence and independence and a routine part of adult life. As a person living with a diagnosis… Continue Reading

Recognising the needs underlying aggressive behaviour in people with dementia

Recognising the needs underlying aggressive behaviour in people with dementia

Louise Appleton writes about her experience as part of a team who developed a range of person-centred diagnostic tools to better support residents at Kensington Park Aged Care Home, a high-care facility in Perth. Kensington Park, operated by Hall & Prior, is a secure 48-bed residential aged care facility in Perth which specialises in dementia… Continue Reading

Sensory Towels

Sensory Towels

Jo Bozin explains how a simple award-winning aromatherapy program has improved the mealtime experience for residents and staff in one Melbourne residential facility While working mornings and early afternoons at Bupa Thomastown in February 2011, I noticed a lot of uneaten food returning to the kitchen after lunchtimes. Eating is an integral part of everyone’s… Continue Reading

Music program hits the right note

Music program hits the right note

James Baldwin reports on a community services program that is supporting carers and people with dementia through the use of personalised MP3 music players A community services program being run by Southern Cross Care in Victoria is helping people living with dementia relax with their favourite music, stored on an MP3 player. The MP3 player… Continue Reading

Stories to tell

Stories to tell

A creative multi-media project which celebrates the lives of people with dementia, Interactive Life Stories, is recording the narratives of residents at BCS Maranoa in Alstonville, NSW, explains James Baldwin Baptist Community Services (BCS) Maranoa has taken on the challenge of using movie making software to record the life stories of people with dementia. With… Continue Reading

Food for thought: Facilitating independence with finger foods

Food for thought: Facilitating independence with finger foods

  Dietician Denise Burbidge discusses finger foods as a flexible, dignified meal option for people with moderate to severe dementia Aged care workers and people caring for a loved one with dementia know that a nutritious, balanced diet is vital in maintaining body weight, hydration and general well-being. However, achieving a balanced diet for people with dementia… Continue Reading