Topics overview

The dementia training and workshops provided by Alzheimer's Queensland are designed to provide service providers and carers caring for a person with dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, with the necessary skills to prevent or minimise the effects of this illness.  These dementia workshops will equip you with knowledge of the disease process and how it impacts on lifestyles, functional abilities and behaviours.

Please contact us at 1800 639 331 or email: administration@alzheimersonline.org for additional topics that are not already listed below.

 

What is Dementia?

With over a quarter of a million Australians now living with a form of dementia, and this number rising, there are an increasing number of people living with this condition in the community.  Leading with this, more people are accessing support services and entering residential aged care with a diagnosis of dementia.  As dementia is a condition in which there is a lot of stigma and misconceptions, it is important for people in aged care and other industries to have a good understanding of the disease.  This is crucial not only to provide quality dementia care but also to maximise success in dealing with people with dementia in general.  This workshop explores the meaning of dementia and its major causes, disease features, the stages of dementia, and some important implications for practice.
 

Activities and Dementia

Activities are central to the livelihood of all people.  For people with dementia, regardless of the stage of the disease, the need for activities is no exception.  Activities are essential for a person with dementia to engage in at any part of the condition and provide many benefits.  Planning can maximise success in engaging clients and residents in the activities and therefore enhance quality of life for the person.  This workshop gives participants the skills to develop meaningful activities by highlighting a framework with important considerations when creating activity opportunities for clients and residents with dementia.
 

Dementia and Night-Time Behaviours

Whilst a person with dementia may experience various behaviours of concern during the progression of their disease, it is often during the evening and night periods when these behaviours can become particularly challenging to deal with.  Where the person still lives at home, this often leads to carers experiencing stress and sleep deprivation.  One of the behaviours that occur is referred to as “sundowning”, however the understanding of this and other types of night time behaviours are not well understood and therefore can be challenging to manage.  This workshop is solely focused on the behaviours of concern that occur in a person with dementia specifically during the afternoon, evening, night and early morning times of the day.  It provides a thorough overview of the causes of night-time behaviours and practical information and approaches to managing and preventing these behaviours from occurring.  This workshop is beneficial for both carers supporting people with dementia in the community and residential care.
 

Dementia and Behaviours of Concern

This session focuses on responding effectively to difficult or challenging behaviour of patients, clients and others.  It is suitable for direct care staff and others who work with people exhibiting these behaviours who wish to improve their confidence in behaviour management, including case managers and health professionals.  The information covered includes assessing the behaviour and utilising a framework to apply appropriate intervention strategies to case studies and relevant scenarios from the workplace.
 

Dementia: Smart assistive Technologies

Funding bodies, policy makers and those involved in delivering care are increasingly interested in how Smart Assistive Technologies can be applied to assist those with dementia to remain living independently in their own homes.  This presentation will provide practical information on the prescription of a range of Smart Assistive Technologies, including Telehealth, Telemonitoring, robotics, and GPS technologies.  Consideration will also be given to the challenges that arise when using technology with people with dementia and their often aged carers, with a focus on how these barriers can be overcome.  Technologies applicable to residential settings will also be examined, as will emerging technologies not currently released on the Australian market.
 

Depression in Dementia

Depression and dementia are both common illnesses in later life.  Research indicates that between 20-30% of people with Alzheimer’s disease also have diagnoses of depression.  This workshop provides an overview of symptoms and diagnostic criteria for depression and dementia separately, with a particular focus on the characteristics unique to later life.  The complex relationship between dementia and depression will be examined, including the challenges associated with differentiating between these two illnesses that share common symptoms.  There will also be emphasis given to the population of people who experience depression in dementia in terms of the causation and individual impact.  The workshop explores treatment approaches for depression in dementia from a whole person perspective encompassing biological, psychological and social interventions.
 

Dementia and Intellectual Disabilities

It has become increasingly important to understand the specific experience of dementia and intellectual disability as a dual diagnosis.  Research demonstrates that individuals with a diagnosis of intellectual disability, and in particular Down syndrome are at a greater risk of developing dementia.  Studies have shown that one in three people with Down syndrome aged between 50 and 59 years have Alzheimer ’s disease.  The underlying diagnosis of intellectual disability has unique challenges in the early screening for dementia, timely diagnosis, treatment, day to day management, engagement in activities and also carer burden.  Currently in Australia there isn’t a commonly used practice model to allow quality care for people with this dual diagnosis.  This workshop explores both the definition of dementia and intellectual disability, specific challenges related to the dual diagnosis, stages of disease progression in this client group, strategies to address challenging behaviours, American National Task Group on Intellectual Disability and Dementia Practice principles for service provision and managing carer burden. 
 

Swallowing Difficulties in People with Dementia

As many as nine out of ten people with dementia will develop swallowing problems at some point during the course of the illness.  Difficulties at mealtimes and eating safely can be stressful for the person with dementia, as well as their family members and carers.  Unless managed effectively, swallowing difficulties can have many consequences including coughing and choking, food or liquid entering the lungs, chest infections, dehydration and malnutrition.

This workshop is focused on eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties associated with dementia.  The workshop will provide a thorough overview of the causes of swallowing difficulty, changes in swallowing function over time, signs and symptoms of swallowing difficulty, as well as challenging mealtime behaviours.  It will also outline practical tips and strategies for managing swallowing difficulties in people with dementia.  This workshop is suitable for all family members and carers supporting a person with dementia.
 

Communication and Dementia

Communication is a complex process involving words, body language, tone of voice, as well as, memory and attention.  Dementia causes a progressive loss of communication ability.  This is because the loss of memory impacts our ability to remember words and their meanings.  This leads to people with dementia having a reduced ability to use words to express themselves and understand what others say.

This workshop will discuss communication skills and why these skills progressively change as a result of dementia.  It will outline common communication difficulties that occur in different types of dementia, as well as, practical strategies and methods to assist communication with people who have dementia.  This workshop is suitable for family members, carers and aged care workers who care for and communicate with people who have dementia.
 

Dementia and Design

Environmental design has been considered a fundamental component of ‘best practice’ in dementia care for decades.  Symptoms such as difficulty with spatial perception, problem solving, memory, planning and sequencing and a lowered stress threshold combined with emotional regulation difficulties, means that the physical and social environment is often challenging for people with dementia.  Careful planning of both the social and physical environment can help people with dementia make sense of their world despite their symptoms.  The aim of good environmental design helps to compensate for the disability, maximises independence, minimises behaviours of concern by meeting needs, reinforces personal identity and enhances feelings of self-esteem/confidence.  This session focuses on the key principles of environmental design for dementia symptoms.  It offers a practical solution focused approach, backed by recent research, to help carers, family members, allied health, residential and respite facility staff design and/or modify their current environments to ‘enable’ people with dementia and subsequently avoid behaviours of concern. 
 

Falls Prevention for People with Dementia

1 in 4 older people (>65years) have a fall each year with 30% requiring medical attention after a fall.  In 2007-08, there were 13,028 admissions to public and private hospitals post falls, costing an estimated $106.0 million. Within the falls spectrum it is noted that seniors with dementia have a higher incidence of fall i.e. 70-80%; double that of seniors without dementia.  Hence, this workshop aims to provide a framework can be employed to reduce falls for people with dementia with strategies that look at both the person and the environment.
 

Manual Handling for Frail Aged Person

Maintaining mobility and independence is an important aspect in caring for people with neurological disorders.  Cognitive impairment in dementia affects a person’s ability to both communicate effectively and comprehend instructions that can make manual handling tasks extremely difficult.  Research has shown individuals who physically move or lift objects regularly are at much greater risk of developing injury, most commonly, into the lower back.  This workshop will provide practical advice on how to assist and perform safe moving and handling techniques when working alongside people with dementia and those frail of age. 

 

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy Body Dementia is the third most common cause of dementia in Australia.  Despite its prevalence this type of dementia is often poorly understood, and is frequently misdiagnosed in the community.  Consequently, the management of this distinct form of dementia is commonly less than ideal.  The distinctive symptoms of LBD, which can include rapid fluctuations in alertness and confusion; REM sleep behaviour disorder and extreme sensitivity to neuroleptic medications require specialised management and care.  This workshop will explore the characteristic symptoms of LDB; give multi-disciplinary recommendations regarding care and symptom management; and give a thorough review of current research findings.  The other type of dementia which sits under the Lewy Body Disease umbrella, Parkinson’s Dementia, will also be discussed in detail.