Life goes on after dementia diagnosis

Life goes on after a diagnosis of dementia, and a new book launched by the Victorian arm of Alzheimer’s Australia gives carers and people working aged care huge range of activities

By Stephen Easton

The result of seven years research and consultation, Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria has launched a new book of activities for carers and aged care staff to help people with dementia keep living life, having fun, and engaging in activities that interest them.

The new resource for carers and people working in aged care, We can, we can, we can, contains activities and ideas to help people with dementia continue enjoying hobbies, interests and even learn new skills, according to Alzheimer’s Australia Vic’s general manager of learning and development, Dr David Sykes.

“Life doesn’t stop with a dementia diagnosis and many people with love and support around them can continue to enjoy life and the hobbies and interests that give them joy – in some cases they can even learn new skills,” Dr Sykes said in a statement.

“From simple arts and craft projects to reminiscing projects; fun ideas with food; gardening activities; some with a focus on the senses; incorporating music; pets; mental and physical games; traditional celebrations and traditions and even some specifically aimed at men, there are pages and pages of ideas to inspire and overall improve the quality of care and the lives of people living with dementia.”

“These activities have been developed to encourage family and friends to be involved as well as being appropriate for those working in aged care and organising group activities.” 

The book is the result of seven years’ research and was initiated and developed by Paula Bain and Marina Cavill, two former employees of Alzheimer’s Australia Vic. Additional writing and editing was provided by Linda Gordon.

Ms Bain conducted activities workshops throughout rural Victoria while working as an educator with the dementia research and advocacy organisation, where she collected ideas from carers and people employed in aged care about successful activities they had run for people with dementia.

Ms Cavill, a program writer in her former role, was instrumental in translating these ideas into a format more accessible to professionals and family carers alike, by rewriting the contributions and organising them into key themes.

“The research and positive feedback from the book development workshops have clearly demonstrated that the successful introduction of new or familiar activities rewards the carer and the person with dementia,” Dr Sykes said. 

According to Alzheimer’s Australia Vic, We can, we can, we can also incorporates Montessori principles, which aim to enable carers to enhance the quality of life of those they care for through mental stimulation, communication and social engagement. 

The Montessori approach was developed around a century ago by Maria Montessori for childhood education, and has been adapted to dementia care with widespread success since the 1980s.

Dr Sykes said the new book aimed to inform and inspire “new, creative and fun ways to improve the quality of life of both the carer and the person living with dementia”.

“With an estimated 60 per cent of all people in aged care homes living with dementia, our aged care workforce and health professionals need to be continually finding ways to contribute to the quality of care and life of the person living with dementia.”

Copies of the book can be ordered by calling the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.

Tags: alzheimers-australia-victoria, carers, montessori,

7 thoughts on “Life goes on after dementia diagnosis

  1. Hello there
    Congratulations on this publication. I am very much looking forward to reading it and using it among our 30 odd services in Qld and Victoria.
    I rang the helpline a couple of times and there was a waiting list; I didn’t leave a call back number, and wonder if it might be possible to obtain a copy of this publication via another means, such as ordering via email?
    Many thanks.

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for getting in touch. Alzheimer’s Australia Vic is happy to be able to offer this book as a way of providing a creative outlook for people with dementia and their carers.

    Regarding a copy of the book, please feel free to email your details to me at kmcneill@alzvic.asn.au and I will make sure the organiser puts you down for a copy.

  3. Hi I am 74 and teach students nurses how to deal with folk with dementia. My friend is also a carer for her husband who has dementia; and as a nurse in the community I often meet people who are totally uneducated about this disease as is my friend. I would appreciate receiving a copy of this book.
    Thank you for your help in this matter

    Elizabeth-Anthony Lee
    PO box 4055
    Londonderry NSw 2753.
    elizabeth.lee@tafensw.edu.au
    elizabeth@paces.com.au

  4. I am the Clinical Care CORDINATOR of an Aged Care Facility in Spr ingvale.
    iwould love to have a copy of this book.
    Regards Kerrie
    9 torquay ave
    seaford.3198
    Victoria

  5. I am most interested in obtaining a copy of this book for Alzheimers Canterbury – Christchurch NZ. Please advise me process for ordering beyond Australia including costs.

  6. Hi, I am a divertional therapist in anged care facility and would love it if you could send me a copy of this please.

  7. hello Im a lifestyle officer always looking for new resources. I work in dementia specifc and aged care hostel. I would really appreciate a copy.
    thankyou Dee

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