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Dementia doulas are coming to WA

Looking after someone with dementia means adapting to their changing needs. Dementia doulas can assist with the emotional and physical support of someone with dementia.

<p>A program new to WA is likely to make a great difference to people with dementia by providing individualised end-of-life planning and support. [Source: supplied]</p>

A program new to WA is likely to make a great difference to people with dementia by providing individualised end-of-life planning and support. [Source: supplied]

Key points:

The Dementia Doulas program is now broadening its reach to WA after being successful in SA. While people with dementia receive medical advice regarding their conditions, this program is training people to provide individualised care with emotional and physical support for people with dementia.

Currently, an estimated 400,000 Australians live with dementia, according to a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2023, with a higher prevalence evident in women. However, by 2058, this is expected to have doubled with almost 850,000 Australians living with dementia, as per an estimate from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2023. 

Dementia is an overarching term for diseases such as:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular dementia, where blood vessels in the brain are affected
  • Lewy body disease, which includes Parkinson’s disease 

These qualified dementia doulas can provide tailored care to the specific person at the current stage of illness and adjust the care when required. Dementia doulas are generally chosen to assist throughout the entire dementia journey, while also ensuring that end-of-life plans are established.

The partnership between Dementia Doulas International and Community Vision means that services can now be provided in WA, rather than just SA. Community Vision was established in 2001 as a provider of numerous services in Perth, ranging from home care, disability and family day care programs.

Wendy Hall, Dementia Doulas International Managing Director, conveys the value of the combined program as the staff trained are already known to their clients through their roles in Community Vision, and this could reduce the stress for clients who are living with cognitive changes. 

“[…] to have a new leadership role emerging in compassionate care raises the bar for what clients should expect from their service provider,” said Hall. 

Yvonne Timson, Community Vision CEO, values the new development between the companies as she believes Community Vision staff are greatly involved in families’ lives to help them through the journey when a family member has dementia.

“By offering this service, we can better prepare families for what’s to come and ensure it’s a more loving and caring journey. Having trained dementia doulas means our customers [and their families] have more choice, dignity and control over their lives, something I firmly believe in offering,” said Timson. 

While Dementia Doulas International is helping to improve the lives of people with dementia, it’s important to maintain your health to reduce your risk of dementia.

Researchers found that not getting enough sleep could increase your risk of dementia by up to 27 percent. Getting that deep sleep supports the brain in many ways as it ages.

Additionally, looking after your blood pressure could also decrease the risk of dementia. New research found that people over the age of 60 who were treated for their high blood pressure had a 26 percent risk reduction for dementia when compared to those who were untreated.

Generally, looking after your health as you age could be a good way to reduce your risk of dementia. In a study with over 196,000 participants, researchers found that people with a high genetic risk of developing dementia who lead a healthy lifestyle lowered the risk by 32 percent, compared to people with an unhealthy lifestyle.

No smoking, regular physical activity, a healthy diet and moderate alcohol consumption were considered healthy behaviours and lifestyles by the researchers.

 

Have you had a dementia doula before?

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Relevant content:

Sleeping less can increase the risk of dementia by 27 percent

The impact of sex on Alzheimer’s disease

One in three Aussies reported a fear of people with dementia

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