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Carers to co-design new dementia respite approach

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A new project funded under the Dementia Australia Research Foundation will work with people living with dementia and their carers to co-design a new approach to short-term residential respite care and transition into permanent care.

Bolton Clarke Research Institute has received a Dementia Australia Research Foundation Pilot Grant to undertake the Mind the Gap! Project.  The grant is part of $1.5 million in research funding for 19 projects supporting research into some of the biggest dementia-related challenges.

BCRI Research Fellow Dr Claudia Meyer said the project would work to explore respite and transition approaches that better met the needs of people with dementia and their carers.

“People living with dementia often have specific care needs that are provided mostly by informal carers like family or friends,” she said.

“There may come a time when the physical or emotional demands of caregiving are no longer manageable, which is why supportive residential respite care is important, with or without a transition to permanent care. Respite provides a pause or rest from the duties of caring but doesn’t necessarily require a physical distancing from the person living with dementia.”

Dr Meyer said the transition of a person living with dementia to permanent care could be laden with guilt and confusion for carers. Individual experiences could vary widely.

“This project aims to co-design a new and novel approach to short-term residential respite care and transition into permanent care in conjunction with people living with dementia, their carers and residential aged care teams,” she said.  “The project is designed to generate ideas on what might work rather than testing a known intervention.”

A prototype program will be generated from the co-design sessions.