Group Homes Australia has announced an initiative aimed at revolutionising the way individuals live with dementia. The organisation has secured a grant from the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care to enhance post-diagnostic support for people living with dementia and their partners (PLWD), focusing on immediate needs as well as long-term empowerment.
The grant will fund a series of 5-day retreats, co-designed by PLWD, that will provide comprehensive support and education. These retreats will offer dementia education, innovative strategies, cutting-edge tools, peer support, and psychological debriefing, all aimed at equipping PLWD and their partners with the skills to enhance their quality of life while living with dementia.
Tamar Krebs, the Founder and Executive Director of Group Homes Australia, emphasised the importance of providing resources and support for individuals diagnosed with chronic illnesses. Krebs stated, “Diagnosis is improving, but living with dementia in the community is not. We have an obligation to teach people the skills and strategies to live well with this diagnosis.”
Research conducted by Dr Meredith Gresham, a Research Fellow and COGNISANCE Project Coordinator at UNSW, in collaboration with Professor Henry Brodaty, showcased the positive impact of similar programs. The study demonstrated a reduction in caregiver stress and improved well-being for PLWD, resulting in extended periods of living happily at home.
Group Homes Australia supports families throughout the entire dementia journey, from diagnosis to short-stay accommodations to long-term care. Krebs stressed the importance of not solely focusing on the disease’s impact, but rather embracing the challenges and empowering families, social networks, and PLWD to create a more inclusive society.
Over the next few months, Group Homes Australia plans to host five retreats in metropolitan Sydney and one in rural NSW, each accommodating five couples. These retreats, fully funded by the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care, will mark the beginning of a three-year program consisting of 33 retreats.
With this innovative approach, Group Homes Australia aims to transform the lives of PLWD and their partners, providing them with the necessary tools and support to navigate the challenges of dementia while leading fulfilling and independent lives.