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Dementia Australia: Quality dementia care must be prioritised

Dementia prevalence in the community and in residential aged care is significant. We know 68.1 per cent of aged care residents have moderate to severe cognitive impairment and two in three Australians with dementia live in the community. 

In 2024, it is estimated there are more than 421,000 Australians living with all forms of dementia. Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to more than 812,500 by 2054.

With this high prevalence, everyone working across the healthcare industry, including health, aged care and disability, ought to be receiving compulsory education about dementia to increase their understanding, knowledge and skills in dementia care. 

When people living with dementia receive care from professionals that have completed dementia education, there are fewer incidents of changed behaviour and people living with dementia have a more consistent experience of quality care.

We know dementia education leads to a reduction in high-risk incidents, lower rates of inappropriate medication use and more positive staff attitudes and morale, which ultimately results in better service delivery and quality of life for people living with dementia.

To achieve this, Dementia Australia is focusing on implementing change in the following areas: 

  • Dementia support pathways: People living with dementia, their families and carers must have optimal access to the integrated services and supports they need to live the life they choose.

  • Building workforce capability: The workforce, leadership and culture must understand and support dementia and have the skills and knowledge to sustainably embed quality dementia care.

  • Dementia-friendly design: Physical environments must support people living with dementia to be as independent as possible.

All of which are underpinned by people living with dementia placed firmly at the centre. 

With a longer-term focus and vision that includes dementia specialisation in all pathways to nursing and aged-care qualifications, we can ensure aged care will become a more appealing career to pursue for healthcare professionals and will attract the qualified staffing numbers needed for the future.

In the short-term, upskilling the current workforce, including by using existing education tools from the Centre for Dementia Learning at Dementia Australia, will begin to alleviate some of the pressures and challenges of caring for someone living with dementia.

Educating the workforce has been an ongoing focus for the Centre for Dementia Learning and four Leadership and Practice Change education programs for care workers have recently been launched. 

These programs will deliver engaging education to build the dementia capability of future leaders in the sector, as well as creating lasting change through leadership and culture change that in turn promotes improved behaviours, attitudes, and care practices for all care workers. 

Strong leadership in aged care is fundamental to the delivery of high-quality dementia care.

It was recognised as a critical element of sustained practice improvements by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and in response, also by the Federal Government. 

At the heart of these programs, the Centre for Dementia Learning works to engage, enable and empower participants to develop real insights into what it is like to live with dementia and in doing so, change their attitudes and behaviours which then transforms their practice. 

Since launching into the word of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and app technology, Dementia Australia has grown its suite of immersive and engaging offerings including Enabling EDIE, Talk with Ted and Ask Annie. 

Enabling EDIE 

Enabling EDIE (Educational Dementia Immersive Experience) is an immersive workshop that enables participants to see the world through the eyes of a person living with dementia and is delivered through a headset using high quality virtualreality technology.

The workshop started in Australia and has since expanded globally, being delivered around the world in Singapore, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Switzerland andNew Zealand. 

When a user puts on EDIE, they step into the world of a character called Edie, who lives at home with his wife, and lives with dementia. They see what Edie sees, hear what Edie hears and experience the world similar to how a person living with dementia does, helping users to develop a deeper understanding of and empathy for the people they care for. 

Talk with Ted 

Another immersive experience, Talk with Ted, is online and designed to educate care workers to better communicate with and support people living with dementia. 

Ted is an artificial intelligence avatar, who is living with dementia and can convey a range of emotions and attempts at conversations to communicate his state of mind, providing users with the opportunity to engage in a conversation similar to engaging with a person living with dementia. 

The tool enables workers to practice their communication skills in a safe environment, where they can learn from their mistakes and improve their practice. 

Ask Annie 

The educational mobile app, Ask Annie, offers short, self-paced learning modules to help care workers refresh their skills and learn techniques to provide better care to people living with dementia. 

Virtual care worker, ‘Annie’, guides users through a range of scenarios to strengthen their dementia care skills. The modules are short and provide carers with practical ways to address every day and challenging situations in an accessible format. 

For an expansion campaign announced in February, Ask Annie is now freely accessible to aged care workers looking to develop their person-centred care for those living with dementia.

Our technology is designed to engage, enable and empower participants to develop real insights into what it may be like to live with dementia and in doing so, change their attitudes and behaviours in order to transform their practice. 

We know from formal evaluations the power of this style of training compared to traditional learning.

Making education more experiential and engaging helps people to recall exactly what they’ve learnt and makes them more likely to implement these new skills — which means better care for people living with dementia.

People living with dementia, their families and carers have told us what they need, and Dementia Australia is committed to achieving transformation that improves the quality of care and support for people impacted by dementia. 

The sooner the aged care workforce is accessing appropriate dementia care education and training, the sooner we will begin to see the changes needed to improve the health, lifestyle and care outcomes for people of all ages living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. 

We know from our work and broad consultation with people living with dementia, their families and carers, that if we get quality care right for people living with dementia, then there will be quality care for all. 

If you would like information or support, visit the Dementia Australia website ( or contact the National Dementia Helpline (1800 100 500). Healthcare professionals can refer their patients to Dementia Australia — we support your patients with reliable information, advice and a wide range of programs to live well with dementia.

By Dr Kaele Stokes, Executive Director Services, Advocacy & Research, Dementia Australia

1800 100 500


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