February 17, 2017

Do you need some quick & effective ideas for activities for with people with dementia ? Reminisce and discuss with these resources

*To borrow or reserve any of these items or an article  please email nsw.library@alzheimers.org.au
bfn Michelle

A collector's year

This book started out as a weekly column for the Hobart Mercury.

It is structured by month, so, for example, the author uses April to write about collecting material related to war. 

In December he talks about collecting Christmas related things. 

It blends personal tastes, observations and reflections with tips for picking things up on Ebay, garage sales and antique shops. 

It often includes details about how much some things are worth, what it means to be a collector as opposed to a hoarder, how to organize and display your things and so on."

Read a Bit! Talk a Bit! Cake

Read a Bit! Talk a Bit! Telephone

Read a Bit! Talk a Bit! Stamps

Read a Bit! Talk a Bit! Money

Read a Bit! Talk a Bit! Scissors

Read a Bit! Talk a Bit! Car

Let's look together : an interactive picture book for people with Alzheimer's and other forms of memory loss

Featuring fun images of children, this picture book for adults is to be shared with a  person with memory loss to encourage meaningful emotional connections and conversations through therapeutic brain stimulation.

These are photographs that trigger multiple and varied sensory reactions: visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory, and vestibular and proprioceptive (motion and movement). 

Test with people with middle to late Alzheimer’s disease, Ziegler’s work demonstrates that spending time with an interactive picture book can help keep people with memory loss connected and engaged.

Users of Let’s Look Together are encouraged to
  • Relate to the feelings suggested by the photos
  • Reminisce about situations triggered in the person’s memory
  • Describe what might precede or follow in the photo’s action
  • Tell a story about the child or image
  • Find pleasure in sharing the book together

Creative connections in dementia care : engaging activities to enhance communication

This how-to manual is packed with guidance to help enhance communication, interactions, task breakdown, and problem-solving efforts while also encouraging the abilities of each participant.
People with dementia enjoy valuable benefits when they actively engage in a creative activity:
•stress is reduced
•memories can be accessed
•mood and self-esteem are elevated
•a sense of personal identity and achievement is experienced

Personal life history booklet - printable 

A person’s life represents the accumulation of a wealth of experiences which form their social and life history. Every person’s memories are unique to that individual. This booklet has been designed to collect the unique social and life history of an individual with dementia. This life history will help individualise the care of the person with dementia and maintain their identity. It will also help people caring for the individual to know them and develop strong relationships with them.

February 15, 2017

Alzheimer’s Australia announces new National CEO

Alzheimer’s Australia announces new National CEO

Alzheimer’s Australia has announced Maree McCabe as its new national Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Alzheimer's Australia National CEO Maree McCabe
Alzheimer's Australia National CEO Maree McCabe
Ms McCabe previously was CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia Vic and has been Interim National CEO for the last six months. 
In her new role Ms McCabe’s will oversee the unification of Alzheimer’s Australia to a national operating model, due to be implemented from 1 July 2017.
“I am honoured and humbled to be appointed Alzheimer’s Australia National CEO,” Ms McCabe says.
“I am very excited about the future for Alzheimer’s Australia and what we are doing to make a difference for people living with dementia, their carers and families. 
During her time at Alzheimer’s Australia Vic, Ms McCabe was involved in the establishment of multi-disciplinary regional hubs; the growth of the use of technology in dementia education and support and the expansion of early intervention services and programs for people living with younger onset dementia and their families, carers and friends. 
“I am looking forward to working with the Board and my colleagues, consumers and other partners across the county to deliver programs, services and advocacy that improve the quality of life for all people impacted by dementia,” Ms McCabe continues. 
“We are delighted to have Maree take on this role in a permanent capacity during the exciting and challenging process of unification,” says Alzheimer’s Australia National President Professor Graeme Samuel AC.

“Maree has demonstrated outstanding work over the past six months in the unification process and the Board and I look forward to working together to bring about these changes in service of people impacted by dementia.”

Commissioned by Alzheimer’s Australia, The Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056

Counting the cost of dementia

With dementia expecting to cost the community predicted to be over $14 billion this year and the number of Australians living with dementia increasing to over 400,000, Alzheimer’s Australia is calling for a staged approach to implementing a funded National Dementia Strategy.

A report released this week predicted costs will increase to more than $18 billion by 2025 and 536,000 people will be living with dementia if nothing is done. By 2056, the report predicts the number of people with dementia will be 1.1 million people and costs will hit $36 billion.
Commissioned by Alzheimer’s Australia, The Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056 report also found just a five per cent reduction in the number of people developing dementia over the age of 65 could lead to savings of $5.7 billion from 2016-25, and $120.4 billion by 2056.
Alzheimer’s Australia National President Professor Graeme Samuel AC says the figures contained in the report by the University of Canberra’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) were alarming and a very big wake-up call.
“Dementia, which is a National Health Priority Area, is one of the major chronic diseases of this century,” Professor Samuel says. “It is already the second leading cause of death in Australia and we know that the impact is far reaching.”
He has renewed the call for a funded National Dementia Strategy to deal with the issue, along with a greater focus on risk reduction measures.
“Despite the social and economic impact we still do not have a fully-funded national strategy to provide better care and outcomes for people who are living with dementia now, nor are we taking risk reduction seriously in order to try to reduce the numbers of people living with dementia in the future,” he says. “The time for action is now. If we don’t do something now, the cost is going to continue to grow to unsustainable levels.”
Deputy Director at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis NATSEM, Professor Laurie Brown says the significance of these new, national dementia figures could not be under-estimated.
“What these figures show is an alarming upward trend of not only the number of people likely to be living with dementia over the next 40 years, but also the tremendous economic impact this will have on the entire Australian population. Not to mention the lasting social impact on those living with dementia, their carers and family and friends,” Professor Brown says.
“The sharp rise in the number of people likely to be diagnosed with dementia in the next 40 years, and the more than doubling of current estimates on the economic costs of dementia in Australia, is largely due to the increasing number of older people in our population and the fact that Australians are living much longer. As well, we now have access to better Australian-based data on the number of people likely to have dementia now and into the future,” she adds.
Professor Brown believes a whole-of-community approach to risk reduction, and better co-ordinated care, along with a boost to research, is going to be needed if we are to curb the rise in people living with dementia by 2056.
In the 2017-18 pre-budget submission to the Federal Government, Alzheimer’s Australia has called for a staged approach to implementing a funded National Dementia Strategy, with immediate action on funding:
  • for a more comprehensive risk reduction program to raise awareness of brain health and the links between lifestyle and health factors and the risk of developing dementia, cognitive impairment and other chronic conditions ($3 million);
  • to develop a consumer-based Quality in Dementia Care program to improve aged care services, both in residential aged care and in the community ($1 million);
  • to improve access to quality respite care to better support people with dementia living in the community, their families and carers ($15 million).
Dawn and Glyn McKay from Canberra have welcomed calls for improvements to dementia care and support. Mr McKay was diagnosed with vascular dementia six years ago, and attends respite twice a week, which Mrs McKay says is appropriate and engaging.
“It is so important for people with dementia to be able to continue to have social engagement.”
In addition to improvements to quality care, respite and support options, Mrs McKay would like to see dementia research given similar priority to other chronic health conditions.
“People living with dementia need quality community, aged care and respite options,” she adds.
Key findings from The Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056 are available on the Alzheimer's Australia website.
For dementia information and support contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500

Dementia is a National Health Priority Area www.fightdementia.org.au
Media enquiries:
Sarah Price - 0403 072 140 / 02 8875 4635 / sarah.price@alzheimers.org.au
Bianca Armytage – 0407 019 430 / 02 6278 8924 / bianca.armytage@alzheimers.org.au
Sam Watson – 0412 099 134
Editors please note, a full copy of The Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia

for the healthcare professional - Australian Journal of Dementia Care Vol 6 No1 Feb - March 2017

Purchase price

$3,500 includes the game software and annual support of up to 15 hours, by phone and email. Discounted pricing packages can be arranged for multiple purchases.

Please contact our Customer Relations Consultants
Suzanne McMeikin on Suzanne.McMeikin@alzheimers.org.au(link sends e-mail)| 03 9816 5791 or
Marie Norman onMarie.Norman@alzheimers.org.au(link sends e-mail)| 03 9816 5716 with enquiries or to further discuss your training needs and get an obligation free quote.

*To borrow or reserve any of these items or an article  please email nsw.library@alzheimers.org.au
bfn Michelle

Cover story: Creative ways to care
Bethanie Care Group and Agelink Theatre in Western Australia have collaborated on a theatre, music and reminiscence project which culminated in a performance staged by and for people with dementia, in front of an audience of 300. P 11

Staff engagement and upskilling enhances job, care quality
WA’s Brightwater Care Group’s well-being mapping workplace innovation has shown tangible benefits in terms of job quality and quality of care.
 p 17

Also in this issue
Singing side by side
The Alchemy Chorus is Canberra’s first community choir for people with dementia and their carers
Addressing isolation through the arts – how to participate
And how to start a choir for people with dementia  p 8

Singing Groups for People with Dementia : A Guide to Setting Up and Running Groups in Community and Residential Settings
everything you need to know about setting up and running these includes;
Chapter One: What is so good about music?   3
Chapter Two: What is so good about music for people with dementia?  7
Chapter Three: What do you need to know about dementia?  11
Chapter Four: Preparing yourself   21
Chapter Five: Preparing others  22
Chapter Six: Roles of people involved   29
Chapter Seven: Identifying a suitable venue   33
Chapter Eight: Fundraising   36
and much much more ...

Living in care: an exercise to promote empathy
How an exercise in empathy helped staff gain a better understanding of behaviours that challenge  eg imagining you become a resident, how would you respond to an experience this difficult ??? … looks at unmet needs model – Cohen-Mansfield
P 23

Using Montessori in community respite
A three-year study is examining the impact of using the Montessori approach in community-based dementia respite care services
Includes the principles and why they are important and how to apply them in a community respite centre and how to introduce and maintain the approach.  p 25

CAUSEd: effective problem solving to support well-being
The CAUSEd problem-solving tool is designed to help carers shift focus from seeing behaviours as ‘difficult’ or ‘challenging’ and understand how physical and social environments contribute to responsive behaviours
Environment …
Dementia …
This leads to a systematic approach and responds to unmet needs –also looks at how to put CAUSEd into practice .
P 15

A time for change? Rethinking dementia practice in hospitals
Explores the experiences of people with dementia in hospital, and the various approaches used to improve this experience – looks at updating the NSCHS  standards  - and Delirium clinical care standard  - towards improving outcomes includes hospital initiatives  eg the cognitive impairment identifier… “caring for cognitive impairment campaign”… and includes resources.  
P 32

Prescription for Life: an interactive resource for YOD
A new interactive talking book to assist health workers provide meaningful care for younger people living with dementia – this is a great free resource

The story of dementia: Stephen Post and Julian Hughes
John Killick continues his series of articles exploring the history of dementia through the stories of individuals p 6

KT workshops support shift from ‘thinking’ to ‘doing’ in dementia care
Knowledge translation (KT) and change management principles can help dementia education workshop participants use what they learn..
Knowledge Translation
DTA has strong linkages to dementia research organisations and consumer groups. This ensures ongoing commitment to timely knowledge translation – with training activities and resources reflecting contemporary best evidence in dementia care, and informed by the needs and preferences of persons living with dementia and their families.

DTA will strive to use best quality research to enhance the quality of care for people living with dementia, and to generate new knowledge about optimal approaches to delivering workforce education.

Plus the latest dementia research news, resources and events
The Virtual Forest
After  almost 3 years of development and testing the The Virtual Forest ™
The Virtual Forest™ uses a gaming technology to create a sensory experience, utilising a large interactive screen, and is designed to immerse the user in a peaceful and enjoyable virtual environment for people living with dementia. The Virtual Forest™ creates a beautiful nature setting which is calming as well as engaging and enjoyable.
"It is happy and easy going - I was captured by the forest, so 'beautiful' - It recalled the experience with my family."


The Virtual Forest™ presents an expansive park-like setting, with colourful flowers, trees and a river with a bridge. The seasons can change with a clap of the hands, and animals can appear and move around the scene with a wave of the hands. It is designed to give back some control to people living with dementia – it is their forest, and they can experiment with it and enjoy it. This is a deliberately personal experience, but one that can be shared with carers or other residents.

The Virtual Forest™ uses a Kinect sensor(link is external) to allow users to provide input with nothing more than waving their hands. This means they can use natural, easy motions to control interactive elements in the forest. The Virtual Forest™ has a number of interactive elements for users to interact with.

  • These are:
  • Mother duck & ducklings
  • School of koi fish
  • Monarch butterfly
  • Dragonfly
  • Boat
  • Season change from autumn to spring

Purchase price

$3,500 includes the game software and annual support of up to 15 hours, by phone and email. Discounted pricing packages can be arranged for multiple purchases.

Please contact our Customer Relations Consultants
Suzanne McMeikin on Suzanne.McMeikin@alzheimers.org.au(link sends e-mail)| 03 9816 5791 or
Marie Norman onMarie.Norman@alzheimers.org.au(link sends e-mail)| 03 9816 5716 with enquiries or to further discuss your training needs and get an obligation free quote.


February 10, 2017

Book review of ‘What the hell happened to my brain? Living beyond dementia’ by Tom Dening, Professor of Dementia Research, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, Nottingham University

*To borrow or reserve this item please email nsw.library@alzheimers.org.au
bfn Michelle

Professor Tom Dening Reviews 

‘What the hell happened to my brain? Living beyond dementia’ by Kate Swaffer 

Review published by Professor of Dementia Research, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, Nottingham University on 30 December, 2016. 

(Reproduced here, with permission.)

“Kate Swaffer is phenomenal. Diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia before the age of 50, she has been a leading advocate for dementia ever since, with a much-followed blog site https://kateswaffer.com/, addresses at numerous conferences and the best-selling book whose title heads this blog post. 

She is a member of the World Dementia Council and co-founder and chair of Dementia Alliance International, the first global organisation exclusively for people with dementia. It is entirely fitting that she is the South Australian nominee for Australian of the Year 2017 and of course we hope she wins. Last year’s victor was Chief of the Army and in 2015 the winner was a campaigner against domestic violence.

The book makes interesting reading, with some biographical material, some very illuminating descriptions of the difficulties Kate has with memory, words and so on, and then a lot of material aimed to support people with dementia in their lives but also a call to action for people with dementia to be more involved. 

She acknowledges that there is some repetition in her style, and this is indeed the case. However, points made more than once are perhaps the important ones. I don’t want to post a conventional book review but would like simply to discuss the two points that most struck me.

One experience Kate has often had is being challenged over her diagnosis. It seems that if you appear to be functioning well or speaking at an international conference, there is an assumption that you can’t have dementia and thereby there is an implication of fraud. Kate describes how offensive this is. You would not be challenged if you said that you have cancer or diabetes, or just about any other condition, so why is dementia different? Surely, the earlier that cases are diagnosed, the more likely that people will be less impaired and therefore well able to express themselves, especially if there is support for their writing. It is unlikely that most people would choose to have a diagnosis of dementia, especially if they don’t have the condition*, so as it is not appropriate to interrogate people about their medical histories, then we must accept what they say and we should regard such questioning as rude and inappropriate when we hear it.

Kate has an ear for a strong catch phrase and one of these is Prescribed Disengagement, which she has trademarked, hence the capitals. 

This is what happens in most cases after a diagnosis of dementia. The person is advised to stop work, stop driving, stop most things, and concentrate on living out what remains of their life. Kate quite rightly points out that this is the opposite of every other medical condition, where the patient is encouraged to fight the disease, keep going, press for reasonable adjustments to enable them to keep working, and so on. She also makes a strong argument that if she had the same impairments that she has, but due to another condition such as brain injury or stroke, she would expect to be offered a whole list of rehabilitative opportunities, e.g. speech and language therapy, dietary advice, counselling (including grief work), social work and so on. This of course is completely unjustifiable and I’d totally agree. I have suggested myself that we consider ‘the Deal for Dementia’ and this is to some extent reflected in the current interest in post-diagnostic support. Though I fear that what is considered is still pathetic in relation to what people with dementia really need.”

Tom Dening, 28th December 2016

*You may remember the Guinness case of 1991, where a defendant was released from prison because he was said to have Alzheimer’s disease. However, this seemed to resolve quite nicely after his release.

Footnote: Considering the last two months, this was a very timely review! Thank you Tom.

February 08, 2017

difficulty communicating with a person with dementia ...try these books

*To borrow or reserve this item please emailnsw.library@alzheimers.org.au
bfn Michelle

Talking to Alzheimer's : simple ways to connect when you visit with a family member or friend

... all too often, family members and friends feel so uncomfortable that they end up dreading visits, or simply give up trying to stay in contact with the patient. 

This book offers a wealth of practical things you can do to stay connected with the 
it gives you list of what to say and what not to say ... with advice on everything from dealing effectively with the inevitable repetition that occurs in conversations with an Alzheimer's patient to helpful strategies for saying no to unrealistic demands. It also includes thoughtful tips to remind you to take care of your own feelings and suggestions for helping children become comfortable with visiting...

A loving approach to dementia care : making meaningful connections with the person who has Alzheimer's disease or other dementia or memory loss by Laura Wayman

..this program of care emphasizes communication, affirmative response, and empowerment—transforming the caregiving process from a burden into a fulfilling journey. Her true stories of caregiving illustrate the principles of this loving approach, giving readers essential tools for connecting with people who have dementia. 

Hearing the person with dementia : person centred approaches to communication for families and caregivers 

Losing the ability to communicate can be a frustrating and difficult experience for people with dementia, their families and carers.
 As the illness progresses, the person with dementia may find it increasingly difficult to express themselves clearly, and to understand what others say.

Written with both family and professional carers in mind, this book clearly explains what happens to communication as dementia progresses, how this may affect an individual's memory, language and senses, and how carers might need to adapt their approach as a result. 
... communicating with people who can no speak or move easily, and strategies for communicating more effectively in specific day-to-day situations, including at mealtimes, whilst helping the person with dementia to bathe or dress, and whilst out and about.

Keeping in touch : with someone who has Alzheimer's

If someone that you love has dementia, don't believe the popular view that they are lost to you forever, living in a world of their own. You CAN keep in touch.   
...the book  gives practical ideas for how we can involve someone we love in our daily activities by showing you how to work with the skills the person still has and not focus on the deficits.. 

Connecting the dots : breakthroughs in communication as Alzheimer's advances 

If you have a loved one in the middle or late stages of Alzheimer's disease, you know how frustrating and difficult it can be to communicate. 

But it's not impossible to maintain a real relationship with your friend or family member, even as his or her Alzheimer's advances.
 In more than sixteen years of work with Alzheimer's patients and their families, author Judith London has learned how to 'connect the dots' of scattered information offered by people with Alzheimer's so that loved ones can understand the depth of feeling still present in them. 

Connecting the Dots reveals London's practical techniques for decoding the language of Alzheimer's to improve communication. With this book as your guide, you can better navigate your relationship with your loved one and keep a meaningful connection. 

Lost words

Lost Words has more than 290 pictures and their corresponding words. The book is spiral-bound for ease of constant use. There are also a few plastic pockets for keeping photographs in, plus a few pages for personal notes.

There are a lot of people, who for different reasons, have difficulty finding the right words for things. 

There are also many, like some dementia and stroke patients, who have completely lost the ability to speak. For everyone involved, this book can be of great help to both patients and caregivers.

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