10 tips for supporting someone with dementia

Sometimes relatives and friends can find it hard to know what to say if they are visiting a person with dementia – either in their own home or in a care home.

This handy booklet from HammondCare is free to access and easy to read: it sets out  10 tips for supporting someone with dementia, and is aimed at family and friends who want to continue to support and visit a person with dementia.

It includes suggestions such as ‘Start by listening’, ‘Don’t rush to give advice’, and suggestions for activities to do together.

Making plans for the future

The Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre in Sydney, together with HammondCare and Alzheimer’s Australia, have just launched some resources to help people with dementia who are needing to make plans for their future.

There’s a workbook that you can print off and fill in, which is designed to help guide conversations about decision-making, finances, health and care decisions.

There are also four brochures titled, ‘Supporting a person to make their own decisions’, ‘ Can they decide for themselves’, ‘When you need to make a decision for someone’, and ‘Who will speak for you if you can’t?’.

The resources are well set out and easy to read – definitely worth a look.

Introducing a new guide to respite care

Alzheimer’s Australia has just published two new resources on respite care for people with dementia: one is aimed at people with dementia and family carers, and the other is aimed at service providers.

The 20-page booklet for people with dementia and family carers looks at topics such as finding a respite service, making the most of respite care, communicating with respite staff, and a checklist for things to consider when choosing respite. It also has a number of stories of people who have tried respite and the sorts of things they have learned from this experience.

Click Flexible respite services for people with dementia and their carers to download a copy of the booklet.


Dementia Research Foundation

Alzheimer’s Australia has its own ‘Dementia Research Foundation’ which funds some major pieces of research into dementia in Australia.

The Foundation has recently updated its website information (see Get involved: the Dementia Research Foundation) setting out all the major studies where researchers are currently recruiting for participants (at the moment about 15 across Australia).

It might not be for everyone, but for the right person being involved in a dementia research project can be a stimulating experience, with the person with dementia and/or their carer feeling that their view is listened to and valued.

For each study, the website explains who is conducting the research and where, where participants can be recruited from, what would be expected of participants, and the closing date for involvement.

The list makes for interesting reading, and it’s clear that there’s a lot more going on now than there was even five years ago.

The economic cost of dementia in Australia

Alzheimer’s Australia is hoping that new figures on how many people are living with dementia in Australia – and the costs associated with their care – will be a “very big wake-up call” for the government to do more on this issue.

The new figures were released in February 2017 in a report titled The economic cost of dementia in Australia 2016-2056.

They are an increase on previous estimates – now just over 400,000 people are living with dementia in Australia (compared with 353,000 in earlier estimates), and the cost of this is $14 billion per year.

The report also estimates how many people will be living with dementia in Australia in 40 years’ time, and the costs to the Australian economy over the coming 40 years.

It includes calculations of the savings that could be made if there was just a 5 per cent reduction in incidence in dementia in the future, and to the savings that could be made through technological advances and reduced hospitalisation.

Alzheimer’s Australia National President Professor Graeme Samuel AC said, “The time for action is now. If we don’t do something now, the cost is going to continue to grow to unsustainable levels.”

Alzheimer’s Australia is pushing for a national dementia strategy with committed funding. It is calling on the government to take immediate action on funding:

  • for a more comprehensive risk reduction program
  • to develop a consumer-based Quality in Dementia Care program to improve aged care services, both in residential aged care and in the community
  • to improve access to quality respite care to better support people with dementia living in the community, their families and carers.

The Alzheimer’s Australia press release in relation to this report is here.

Travelling with Dementia

Planning on going on a cruise? Flying to somewhere far away? A new booklet from Alzheimer’s Australia on Travelling and holidays with dementia tackles some of the practical challenges that can arise when a person with dementia is going on holiday. The booklet includes lots of suggestions and tips, and is set out alongside some lovely holiday photographs and quotes from family carers about how they prepared for their travels.

The booklet looks at travelling by various different ways – sea, air, car and public transport – and sets out some of the challenges and some strategies to consider. It looks at planning holidays, tips about accommodation, and things to consider on return. You can access the booklet here: https://www.fightdementia.org.au/files/NATIONAL/documents/Travelling-with-dementia.pdf 

Rethink Respite

For some time, the ‘Rethink Respite’ project has been working hard at improving take-up of respite among carers of people with dementia in Illawarra, NSW. As part of this it has developed some really good resources on respite for people with dementia, which are available on its website here. The project is now launching a new national study which will involve offering a series of online education and support sessions for carers to encourage them to give respite a try. Carers who are interested in accessing this sort of support are encouraged to find out more here.

Launch of ReThink Respite Online

How do I choose?

The Alzheimer’s Australia (Victoria) library has been producing an interesting blog on all thing related to dementia resources for a few years now (it’s worth a look any time). In November they’ve put out a list of 20 of the most borrowed items from the Alzheimer’s Australia libraries during 2016. They say they’ve chosen the list based on four criteria: it’s well written, gets consistently good feedback from borrowers, positive reviews from professionals, and that the library staff love it – something like ‘We recommend…’ stickers in book shops. So, perhaps you might find a Christmas present ideas or two here?! The list includes a range of books: personal accounts of living with dementia (‘Green Vanilla Tea’ by Marie Williams), fiction (‘Still Alice’ by Lisa Genova), DVDs and guides. https://dementiaresources.org.au/2016/11/15/how-do-i-choose/