Understanding the challenges of dementia communication
This 16-minute animation is narrated by Tony Robinson and was developed by Professor Alison Wray from Cardiff University. It does a wonderful job of explaining the complexities of basic communication for people with dementia, and of the importance of empathy.
‘What not to say to someone with dementia’ This easy-to-read short article tackles head-on some of the more painful questions that are put to people with dementia. It covers statements such as these: ‘I’ve just told you that’ or ‘Your brother died ten years ago’ or ‘What did you do this morning?’. For each, it explains why this might pose difficulties for the person with dementia, and what to try instead. It comes from the Alzheimer’s Society UK.
Love to Move is a new guidebook which shows how to tackle 5 chair-based exercises aimed at people with dementia to do at home. The explanations are clear, and accompanied by good-sized photos – so is easy to follow. It comes from the British Gymnastics Foundation, which has been leading a successful exercise program in care homes and community settings for people with dementia for some time now.
Dementia involves more than memory challenges. This resource looks at sensory challenges arising for people with dementia – such as seeing, hearing, smell, touch – and how these senses might be experienced differently when living with dementia. The booklet is the work of Agnes Houston, long-time dementia campaigner and advocate, who spoke with a range of people with dementia about their experiences of sensory challenges, and then included their contributions in this booklet. It includes a ‘Stuff that helps’ for each area. HammondCare is now promoting the resource within Australia, including a new short film with Agnes linked to the booklet. Dementia and sensory challenges
Did you know that Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld) is offering a limited number of $75 vouchers to be used at Bunnings, to help people with dementia make their bathrooms more dementia friendly?
To find out more, go to Alzheimer’s Australia’s website here or contact Alzheimer’s Australia Qld on 1800 588 699.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.