International Dementia Conference: Sydney, Sept 8 & 9

Dr Chris Nowinski

An impressive lineup of experts, news from the frontline of dementia prevention research and voices of those living with dementia will feature at the International Dementia Conference: Brave New World.

“I can honestly say this year is the strongest line-up of speakers, Australian and International, we’ve ever had at an International Dementia Conference,” said HammondCare CEO, Mike Baird.


Mr Baird will open the two-day Sydney conference taking place on the 8-9 September, which is aimed particularly at people involved in delivering complex dementia support services. Registrations are now open for the event to be held at the Sydney Hilton.


“This year’s IDC features experts from backgrounds as diverse as robotics, digital storytelling and nutrition, alongside clinicians, researchers and innovators in delivering complex care,” he said.


“They all have this in common: an absolute passion for improving the lives of people living with dementia.

HammondCare CEO, Mike Baird.


“People like Dr Chris Nowinski, a US neuroscientist whose experience of concussion as a professional wrestler led him to found the Concussion Legacy Foundation.”


Dr Nowinski, who also co-founded Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Centre, will speak at a plenary session on the hot issue of minimising head trauma in sports.

There will be a session on First Nations and dementia. Nova Peris OAM (pictured), Olympic gold medallist and the first Aboriginal woman to sit in Federal Parliament will present at that session along with Canadian academic/activist Dr Wendy Hulko and New Zealand neuropsychologist Dr Makarena Dudley.

Professor Craig Ritchie, Director of the Centre for Dementia Prevention at Edinburgh University and a leading authority on dementia trials, will showcase the most promising developments in the field worldwide.

Professor Ritchie’s research focus is mitigating the risk of dementia by keeping our brains healthy in mid-life.


The conference will look at the potential of Artificial Intelligence and robotics to provide comfort and companionship for people living with dementia. Tom Stevens, founder of Tombot, will tell his story via videolink of working with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop to develop a hyper-realistic companion pet, “Jennie”, for people who cannot care for a live animal.


At the conference, Associate Professors Steve Macfarlane, Head of Clinical Services for Dementia Support Australia, and Associate Professor Colm Cunningham, will launch an important new textbook on supporting people experiencing the behaviours and psychological symptoms of dementia.


Along with Dr Madeleine Healy they have co-edited “The BPSD Textbook: addressing behaviours and psychological symptoms of dementia”.


A panel including Dr Macfarlane will discuss the support needed for people with dementia causing complex behaviours, hearing from the wife of a man who has frontotemporal dementia and the measures the couple took to stay in the community together.


University of Sydney geriatrician Professor Susan Kurrle, also a commentator on the hit ABC TV series Old People’s Home for 4-year-olds will discuss how a dementia diagnosis can change someone’s world and what their loved ones can do to make their new world worthwhile.


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