Australian dementia excellence hits international arena

Calling care workers, social workers, doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, architects, carers and volunteers alike – the prestigious International Dementia Excellence awards competition is expanding its reach and Australia is the next cab off the

Above: Professor June Andrews, Director of the University of Stirling’s Dementia Services Development Centre

By Keryn Curtis

Spirits are running high in dementia care and research circles this year with the prestigious International Dementia Excellence Awards (IDEAs) the latest event to recognise the unique challenge of supporting the growing number of people with dementia in coming decades.

Close on the heels of the announcement of the $25 million NHMRC Partnership Centre to tackle the issues around ‘dealing with cognitive and related functional decline in the elderly’, the internationally renowned Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) at the University of Stirling in Scotland has announced the expansion of its annual international dementia awards to the Australian context.

The awards, which were launched internationally yesterday, aim to “celebrate the people, services and organisations on the frontline globally of supporting people with dementia”. Originally established as UK awards, they became international in 2010 as the DSDC’s dementia partnerships began to expand internationally. 

This year they have expanded further to embrace Australian dementia care services.  To kick start entrants from the southern hemisphere, the 2012 awards ceremony – held in London last time –  will take place here in Australia at a drinks and canapé presentation night on June 28 to coincide with the ‘Risky Business’ International Dementia Conference at Sydney’s Darling Harbour Convention and Exhibition Centre.

In addition, three Australian-specific awards have been added to the awards categories for 2012 – including team of the year, employee of the year and volunteer of the year. 

Another new award for 2012, open to all applicants internationally, is the Risky Business award which highlights ‘the risks often taken to ensure quality of life for people with dementia’. This award draws its inspiration from the theme of the conference itself:  Risky Business: Facing up to Dementia.

DSDC Director and one of the judges, Professor June Andrews said the awards provided a balance to the challenging news often reported about dementia.

“While we often hear about the growing challenge of dementia for both the developed and developing world, we should not forget the outstanding work already occurring to meet this challenge.”

 “It is vital that we raise awareness regarding innovation and good practice in dementia care as well as highlighting those who, through passion and commitment, make a real difference in the lives of those living with dementia,” Prof Andrews said.

The international judging panel for 2012 includes Prof June Andrews, Australian dementia advocate, Sue Pieters-Hawke, Dr Marie-Jo Guisset Martinez of Fondation Médéric Alzheimer in France, and CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia, Glenn Rees.

Together with the Department of Health and Ageing and Alzheimer’s Australia, Australian Ageing Agenda is proud to be an official supporter of the IDEAs.  See below for details of the award categories and how to apply.  Prospective applicants can read about previous IDEA winners and award events on the DSDC website.

Above: one of the IDEA judges, Sue Pieters-Hawke

The Awards:

Nominations for the following categories are now being invited (see website for how to nominate):

1. Dementia and the Arts: This award will recognise art work created by a group or individual with dementia or that represents people with dementia positively in art forms created by people without dementia using all artistic mediums, including painting, film, drama, documentaries or photography.

2. Life Engagement: This award will recognise work undertaken by others to establish meaningful activities for an individual or group of people with dementia. This can be a one off or on-going activity. The activity must have taken place in the time period 1st January 2010 to 23 April 2012. Nominations in this category should demonstrate that their work has allowed individual recognition of the person and their interests and should not be traditional models of imposed group activity.

3. Employee of the Year: This award will be given to an individual who has gone the extra mile, who simply gets on with the job or whose personal commitment has always shone through. Although this person may feel that they have only been doing their job, to others they will have genuinely made difference. (Australia only)

4. Team of the Year: The team of the year could come from any service that supports people with dementia. Applicants for the team award must demonstrate that they have enhanced the quality of services received by people with dementia. (Australia only)

5. Volunteer of the Year: This award recognises an individual who has made a considerable difference to the lives of people with dementia through giving freely of their time and commitment. Nominees could include volunteers in day services, the treasurer of a support committee or a fundraiser. (Australia only)

6. Researcher(s) of the Year: This award will recognise clinical or practice based research that has or will inform and shape positive outcomes for people with dementia and their carers. This research must have produced its findings in the time period 1st January 2010 to 23 April 2012.

7. Dementia Design Innovation of the Year: This award will recognise a communal or private setting used by people with dementia that demonstrates dementia-friendly design. Nominations for this award can come from care homes, architects, hospitals, housing services or day centres and may include gardens or other spaces that demonstrate positive environmental design. This work must have taken place between January 2007 and 23 April 2012.

8. Risky Business: This award is an open category. It draws its inspiration from the theme of our conference Risky Business: Facing up to Dementia. Nominations can address how through their intervention a risk has been taken by or for someone with dementia. Through the endeavours this should have improved the live of an individual or the lives of people with dementia more broadly. The overall requirement is to inspire and challenge the panel.

Conditions of entry. 
The following eligibility criteria apply to all awards:

i. Applications can be made by people working in all sectors. People with dementia and their carers are also invited to apply.

ii. All projects must relate to dementia.

iii. Awards 1, 2, 6, 7 and 8 are international awards and individuals or organisations from anywhere in the world are eligible to apply.

iv. Awards 3, 4 and 5 are only eligible to Australian based activities and individuals

v. The International Dementia Partnership reserves the right to exclude any nominee at any time at its sole discretion.

vi. The International Dementia Partnership accepts no responsibility for any nominations which are lost.

vii. Nominations will be disqualified that cannot evidence meeting the timeframe
criteria for awards 2, 6 and 7.

viii. The closing date for entries is 17.00 hours (UK time) on 23 April 2012.

The following additional eligibility criteria apply to Employee of the year and Volunteer of the Year awards only:

i. Nominations for this award must be made by a third party. Individuals cannot nominate themselves for these awards

Above: Australian winner of the IDEA award for Dementia Design Innovation 2010 was the Royal Hobart Hospital, Nell Williams Unit, a special unit within the ED of Royal Hobart Hospital for people with dementia. The award was accepted by Ian Nethery. June Andrews, left.

Fact File
Professor June Andrews
Director of the Dementia Services Development Centre, Professor June Andrews, is an acclaimed academic, speaker and author in the field of dementia and last year won a prestigious international award to recognise her contribution to nursing. Her emphasis is on what is practical and makes a difference. She is often featured on radio and television, giving down to earth advice on dementia care, and her book, Ten Helpful Hints for Carers has sold more than 13,000 copies.

The International Dementia Partnership
The International Dementia Partnership has been established initially between the Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling in the UK and HammondCare’s Dementia Centre in Australia.  Together the two organisations have more than 40 years of dementia expertise. The partnership provides a platform to harness the international work being done, to encourage collaboration and avoid duplication.  Three other countries are currently in talks to be part of this partnership and it is expected they will attend the 2012 Risky Business conference. 

Both the IDEAs and Risky Business conference are aimed at all those who support people with dementia, including doctors, nurses, social workers, allied health professionals, service commissioners, inspectors, planners/architects, paramedics, housing organisations, the police, faith leaders, voluntary and private sector staff and people with dementia

The Risky Business conference on June 28-29 is presented by the International Dementia Partnership which includes the UK Dementia Services Development Centre and HammondCare’s Dementia Centre, based in Sydney. The conference will bring together delegates from across the globe, all with the passion to improve the lives of people with dementia. The conference is for everyone involved in supporting people with dementia and their carers. For more information about the conference please visit or follow the conference on its facebook page.

Further information
For more information about the International Dementia Excellence Awards go to or contact Jemma Galbraith on (UK) +44 1786467741 or

* An Australian contact for the awards (and Risky Business conference) is Dementia Centre Director, Colm Cunningham on +61 2 8788 3081, OR Peter Hallett + 61 418 532585.

Tags: awards, dementia, dementia-centre, dsdc, hammondcare, ideas, international-dementia-excellence-awards, june-andrews, risky-business, university-of-stirling,

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