“The Dementia Live program has given us the opportunity to train our staff to support individuals and their families experiencing dementia with greater knowledge and compassion. One of the benefits of the programme is that it provided training to core staff, who in turn can now train others. This cost-effective model is allowing us to train all our staff across the campus, families and community members”.
Cindy Woods, Sydney, CEO St Luke’s Care

I believe that the Royal Commission into Ageing and Nursing Homes has both been good in raising the bar on care and standards, but it has also magnified a fear of ageing and memory change. The benefits of Dementia Live is that it is educational and insightful. We all learn from experience, and repetition helps augment the neural connections used to recall memories and associations. Dementia Live gives insight into the loss of the 5 special senses and interprets how that might be received by someone with dementia. The Royal Commission has highlighted a lack of understanding at many levels of the ageing process, and how this has caused a standard of care that is regarded as unacceptable. Whilst ageing and dementia is not homogenous the experience of Dementia Live is something that all sectors of the community should have because it will lead to a better understanding, better care, possibly prevention or delay of some aspects of dementia, and hopefully better decision making in the medical and political circles. I personally believe that all people should use all their sensory experiences to the maximum continuously and that these experiences should be repeated.   I feel that this allows the brain to maximally augment the pathways involved in memory.
Dr Bob Riessen, retired GP, Advocate in Aged Care, Dementia Care, Palliative care, Health Promotion, and Mental Health, Adelaide.

The Ageless Grace workshop experience was great. The format was structured in a way that made it easy to participate. It made it easy to see how the program can be as rigid or flexible as it needs to be on any given day and that it’s OK that each individual in the audience may or may not wish to join in. Before the training I was feeling very stressed but now I’m feeling much more relaxed and positive. I can definitely recommend the training to anyone. I really appreciated the understanding and acceptance of each person and their efforts. There was no pressure to “perform” and that made it easy to relax and enjoy the experience. Now I’m looking forward to what’s to come.
Agnes Herd, Brisbane. Caregiver

Dementia Live is an immersive experience that aims to get participants to really FEEL what it may be like to have dementia. By feeling this it helps us to become more empathetic to people we interact with who have dementia.
One member of staff who has done Dementia Live experience said: ‘I was apprehensive about doing the experience as my mother had dementia and I thought it would make me emotional because when she was diagnosed with dementia there was very little information they could give me about what to expect. When I did Dementia Live, I could recognise clearly all the different stages of dementia that my mother went through. I would definitely recommend it because it has helped me understand the best way to respond to different behaviours and how I can be empathetic to our residents’.
As a nation we need to become more ‘dementia friendly’.  As our population ages the number of people diagnosed with dementia increases. Dementia is the leading cause of death in Australia, 3 in 10 people over the age of 85 are diagnosed with it. (www.dementia.org.au/statistics) This is why at Lulworth House we see it as imperative that we help increase our understanding of the symptoms of dementia and put all of our staff through this training. We are also opening up this training to our volunteers, friends and family and the wider community.
The training has also helped staff understand how we have designed Lulworth House to be dementia friendly e.g. why our toilet seats are a contrasting colour, how the table settings are designed or why we minimise multiple sounds at the same time.

Helen Jomoa, Operations Manager, Lulworth House, Sydney.

It would be great if people from all areas of life could get more exposure to this program, especially senior citizens. My Mother in Law lives in a home in Auckland (she has dementia) and I can see how they would benefit from a program like this. Your work is so important – I wish you every success with it!”
Jane A, Management Committee Executive, NSW.

The overall Ageless Grace experience was wonderful! It was welcoming, informative and fun and the most valuable piece of information that will help me use Ageless Grace is the on-going support from educators & reference materials provided. They were really valuable and will continue to be so. I will be endeavouring to use Ageless Grace with carers in Carer Support Groups and I would highly recommend the training to people who are wondering whether to take it up. I just wanted to thank you Sue, and Adele, for your support, patience and passion in assisting carers Qld staff and carers to experience and learn about Ageless Grace. There are so many opportunities for staff and carers in terms of personal and community connection with Ageless Grace and you have made this possible. Thank you. I really look forward to working with you both into the future and continuing to share Ageless Grace with, not only staff and carers, but the broader community.
Tracey Shaw, Team Leader, Carers Qld.

Loved it! beautiful integration of mindful awareness and humour!
Jenny G, Clinical Psychologist, NSW.

Thanks so much, I thought this was a fun activity, gentle with great music but obviously working on our neuroplasticity”
Nicole A, GP, NSW.

As a care worker in Barcoo, I have the privilege of seeing Ageless Grace in action every Monday morning. The benefits of having them working with our residents on a regular basis is enormous. The way they engage the residents with music and movement is very special and unique. It is a joy to see the residents singing along to the songs and doing the actions, they get so many benefits from the time Ageless Grace spend with them. Some residents clap along, some dance and sing, and one even whistles. The smiles by all are evidence to the enjoyment taking place. The choice of music is particularly good with fun lyrics and songs many of the residents know and love. Vicki and Stewart have a good connection with the residents and they all respond positively to them.

I have also witnessed the program to be particularly useful intervention in behaviour management for the residents living with Dementia. It can help divert agitated residents and engage them in something positive and uplifting.
Juliet Wood, AIN Regis Sippy Downs

I was able to use the training just yesterday
I went out to do a review of a lady with a diagnosis of advanced dementia (which I have never seen before) because there had been an incident
When I walked in I quickly found her as she was walking constantly with a frown on her face
When I approached her and introduced myself (I always have a Montessori name badge on so my name is clear – the visual as well as the verbal) she smiled easily and started to talk to me
I asked her what she would like to be doing and she said ‘exercises, but not supervised’ – I took this to maybe mean that she didn’t want to sit in a big group session with the usual recorded instructions
I said maybe we can do exercises together as I like exercise too, and asked her to join me in the garden – she was really happy to come with me
We sat beside each other on a bench and straight away the training from the weekend came to me so I said ‘how about we start with some tapping of our feet and hands, does that sound ok’ and she readily joined me
I said ‘I’m thinking of a song I used to sing, would you sing with me?’ and it was row, row, row your boat, she joined in easily and willingly
We sang some more songs and we changed the exercises – she flowed along with me
We got to ‘he’s got the whole world in his hand’ and I watched as she did a big arm hand movement in a big circle signifying to her, the world
I followed and she smiled that I was following her
I know it’s just a small part of what you taught me but it has helped me so much to think outside the square

Nerida Pankhurst, Support Officer Lifestyle, Brisbane

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