Last week we had the privilege and pleasure of a supporter of DAI, and friend of our members, senior psychologist Denise Craig from Cairns in Queensland. To introduce the presentation, Denise said:
When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Vascular dementia at the age of 65, dementia became my working life’s vocation. I was fortunate enough to achieve a position where I could assist people diagnosed with dementia, and those providing care and support, both through face to face assistance and also ‘bigger picture’ systemic strategies.
In 2012 as a private undertaking I established a Facebook page. Via posts and private messages I have had the opportunity to hear from many people with rich and diverse stories to tell. Through social media I noticed a pattern of criticism of health professionals, namely that there is little help after diagnosis.
People diagnosed with dementia, care partners, family & friends, can find it hard to come to terms with a dementia diagnosis. Bearing in mind that no two people will have identical experiences, generally speaking dementia is an illness for which support is imperative.
Support includes both early intervention & ongoing assistance to adjust to changes, develop coping strategies, maintain maximal independence & improve quality of life. Holistic assistance which encourages people to live to their personal potential is the cornerstone of good care. By adopting an enabling approach focused on preferred occupation & meaningful activity, independence & well-being, people diagnosed with dementia & their significant others have an opportunity to live to their post-diagnosis potential.
Twelve months ago whilst meeting Kate Swaffer in Melbourne, we shared a robust conversation about rehabilitative/enablement opportunities. I committed to the construction of a ‘Dementia Enablement Guide’ to assist GPs to discuss options which consumers might find helpful.
Through my role within the Qld Statewide Dementia Clinical Network I established a multidisciplinary group which completed this project. A group of people living with dementia, care partners, clinicians and academics reviewed the document and provided valuable feedback. The tool is being trialled in Cairns and Kiama, NSW (as a part of their DFC project), and a consumer version is nearing completion.
The Dementia Enablement Guide is freely available via Qld Health’s website at https://www.health.qld.gov.au/cairns_hinterland/docs/gp-dementia-enablement-guide.pdf
You can also download Denise’s power point slides here Denise Craig presents The Dementia Enablement Guide to DAI