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Project supports veterans with dementia

29 September, 2020

A new project at Bolton Clarke’s Galleon Gardens residential aged care community is set to introduce a program of new interventions supporting veterans with dementia.

Weaving evidence into action for veterans with dementia (WEAVE), led by Dr Claudia Meyer, will co-design practical interventions incorporating strategies supported by latest dementia research.

Dr Meyer said a review of existing literature showed therapeutic music, exercise, sensory stimulation and reminiscence therapy were among non pharmacological interventions that could benefit responsive behaviours, functional capacity and mental health for people with dementia.

“Veterans have particular needs because they may experience trauma-related re-enactments, potentially causing a responsive behaviour (i.e. actions, words or gestures in response to a personal, social or physical trigger)” Dr Meyer said.

“That is probably the biggest challenge with veterans who have dementia – to truly understand what their experiences might trigger and have appropriate interventions to support them.”

The project will implement interventions in group and individual sessions, supported by trained staff and volunteers.

It builds on work undertaken by Bolton Clarke including a systematic review of literature to identify the best available evidence for key non-pharmacological interventions and focus groups with veterans and family members that informed Bolton Clarke’s Veteran Family Mental Wellbeing video series.

Dementia affects close to half a million Australians, with that number set to double in the next 25 years.