Working with dementia in aged care
The number of people living with dementia in aged care is growing. Read about dementia and find resources to help you care for people living with it.
What is dementia?
Dementia is a syndrome caused by a number of underlying diseases, including Alzheimer’s. It can affect memory, thinking, behaviour, communication and a person’s ability to perform daily activities.
About 9% of Australians aged 65 and 30% of people aged 85 and over have dementia (2016). The number of Australians living with dementia is expected to reach almost 900,000 by 2050.
Caring for people living with dementia
We support carers of people living with dementia through the National Dementia Support Program.
Psychotropics in aged care
Psychotropics are sometimes prescribed to manage behaviours and psychological symptoms of dementia. Evidence suggests that, for most people with dementia, use of these medications is not appropriate and can cause harm.
Dementia Support Australia has resources and support programs to help manage behaviours and psychological symptoms of dementia.
Resources to help you in your work with dementia patients include:
- Clinical Practice Guidelines and Principles of Care for People with Dementia and a companion guide from the Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre
- Dementia Australia
- Dementia Training Australia
- Three simple checks to support your residents – for personal care workers in residential aged care
Support to care for people living with dementia
Government programs to support you in your work with people living with dementia include:
- National Dementia Support Program
- Dementia-Friendly Communities
- Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service
- Severe Behaviour Response Teams
- Specialist Dementia Care Program
- Dementia Training Program
Online dementia training is available through:
- Dementia Training Australia — training for GPs and personal care workers
- The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association — training for nurses
- The Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre — training for health professionals, carers and the community