New Dementia Resource for Remote Indigenous Carers

August 24, 2011

A new resource that provides activity ideas for carers of Indigenous people with dementia was launched on Wednesday, August 10 in the remote community of Wugularr, 120km southeast of Katherine.

The book Dementia: things to do, Activity Ideas for Carers is designed to assist carers and aged care service providers in rural and remote Indigenous communities, where the incidence of dementia is estimated to be up to five times higher than the general population.

Frontier Services NT Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) developed the book after identifying a gap in resources for carers in remote Indigenous communities.

DBMAS Program Manager Judy Ratajec said providing activities for people with dementia made a huge difference to their quality of life.

“We all need to have purpose and meaning in our lives. Providing activities for a person with dementia gives them back some meaning, to actually be involved in something gives them that purpose back.”

Some of the activities listed in the resource include going back to Country, collecting bush tucker, bush aromatherapy, painting and weaving, storytelling and physical activities and games such as chair football or boomerang golf.

Funded by the Department of Health and Ageing Dementia Community Grant 2009, the resource aims to assist carers in improving the quality of life for people living with dementia and also reduce some of the behavioural symptoms of dementia.

“In our experience, carers in Indigenous communities were seeking advice and support that the work they were doing engaged the person with dementia,” said Ms Ratajec.

“The resource explains why activities are important and provides prompts and ideas for carers.”

The resource is accompanied with colour photographs, many of which were taken in Wugularr.

Alongside the distribution of the book, DBMAS will conduct training and education on how to provide activities in dementia care.

“We have already done some education in the Kimberley region around the resource. The feedback so far has been fantastic,” Ms Ratajec said.

Frontier Services and Roper Gulf Shire Aged Care Service Wugularr presented the launch. The Wugularr (Beswick) community hosted a lunch and also performed a corroboree.

Frontier Services NT Behaviour Advisor Mary Ingrames talks about the new reosurce book

Members of the Wugularr community performing at the book launch