The grant will go towards funding retreats to address the immediate needs of people living with dementia and their carers, empowering them for the future and equipping them with cutting-edge approaches and innovative ways to live well with dementia.
The new, five-day, post-diagnostic retreat program was co-designed by researchers and people living with dementia and their carers. It includes dementia education, strategies and tools, peer support and psychological debriefing.
Group Homes Australia Founder and Executive Director, Tamar Krebs, said, “People diagnosed with other chronic illness receive resources and support to live well but unfortunately, with dementia, most people only get a six-month follow-up appointment.
“Diagnosis of dementia is improving but it’s also important to improve the lives of people with dementia in the community. Up to 70% of people with dementia currently live in the community, and they need skills and strategies to live well with this diagnosis. Group Homes Australia is very excited to make this a reality with this retreat.”
Research demonstrates that giving people with dementia and their carers the tools and strategies to live well at home with a new diagnosis reduces carer fatigue and delays or prevents admission into long-term care.
Research Fellow and Forward with Dementia Project Coordinator, Dr Meredith Gresham first pioneered this program with Professor Henry Brodaty.
“Research results with over 180 couples who participated in post-diagnostic training clearly demonstrated a reduction in carer stress. The needs of carers and people living with dementia were better met. People living with dementia remained living happily at home for longer than people who did not receive this program. Beneficial effects of the program were still evident eight years following training,” said Dr Gresham.
Group Homes Australia proudly supports families from diagnosis to short-stay accommodations to a long-term stay.
Short stay accommodation shouldn’t be just about care. We step into the messiness of life with dementia and pave a way forward. We believe in up-skilling the family, social networks and people living with dementia to make Australian society more inclusive. It’s about demystifying dementia for partners, carers and younger generations,” said Tamar Krebs.
Group Homes Australia plans to host five retreats in metro Sydney, and one in rural NSW over the coming months, accommodating five couples per retreat. These retreats will be fully funded for 33 programs over three years by the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care.