Body and Mind

Why Dementia Education is Critical: A Firsthand Perspective

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Regional Dementia Conference Highlights Importance of meaningful engagement

“Dementia is not the end of the road. It is a journey to be lived with meaningful engagement, encouragement and self-respect; to live each day at a time and to its fullest extent.”

These poignant words are from Mr Doug Lee, a carer for his wife Tina who has been diagnosed with memory loss and the loss of other cognitive function.

The road from diagnosis has meant a change of lifestyle, both as individuals and as a couple for Doug and Tina; but their journey has been supported by Omnicare Alliance’s HDRC Services Montessori for Dementia Training for Carers.

Tina joined HDRC’s Day Program in January 2017 and combined with the Montessori training Doug undertook in February 2017 there has been a distinct difference to Tina’s life. Where before Tina was withdrawn and isolated, now she is re-engaged with life and interacts with both staff and other people at the centre.

“Tina is now full of life and expresses herself with confidence, and this is all because of the Montessori approach.

“We are now able to apply what we have learnt and experienced…in our daily lives and this helps us going forward” said Doug and Tina.

The training “blew Doug’s mind” as it helped him to better understand approaches that could be used in the home which are practical and easy. These techniques have also been passed onto Tina.

“The Montessori training has been an asset in our relationship”, Doug said.

Dr Cameron Camp, a Montessori for Dementia expert and Jade Sinclair, HDRC’s Montessori Champion will be highlights of the upcoming Omnicare Alliance, regional dementia conference in October, showcasing their Montessori knowledge and its practical implementation in the home and care environments.

The RED Conference, A Regional Experience in Practical Dementia Care’s overarching theme is how people can live well with dementia.

The conference is open to everyone between the Hunter, the Mid and North Coasts, Tweed Heads and out to the New England with an interest in the field of dementia, who care for people living with dementia and for those living with dementia and their carers.

It will provide practical and hands on approaches to dementia care from 13 expert and specialist speakers, including key presentations and workshops. Anyone interested in attending can register at

Montessori for Dementia is a strengths-based approach that focuses on the abilities, skills and interests of a person to provide opportunities that enhance confidence and self-esteem and maintain the independence of a person living with dementia.

The Montessori approach has shown to demonstrate positive results for both people living with dementia and carers.

“Each day can be a positive and constructive one for me if I am living in a caring and safe environment where people interact with me in an understanding, accepting and respectful manner” Tina said.

Omnicare Alliance provides dementia support programs across five day respite centres on the Mid North Coast as well as home care services. The Montessori approach is a critical and essential element to the running of the programs day to day.

For Doug and Tina dementia awareness and understanding and dementia education are fundamental steps in the support of people living with dementia.

“The regional dementia conference is an opportunity for everyone to gain an understanding about dementia and about the new professional way (the Montessori Approach) to care for those living with dementia at home or in residential care.

“Everyone means those in the relevant medical professions, those working in aged care facilities or a relevant caring profession, nurses and others working with the elderly and those family members or friends who have a loved one living with dementia.

“Ageing illnesses don’t discriminate. We think educating the communities about dementia and the Montessori approach to caring and supporting those with dementia would be instrumental in bringing about positive change and improved support for those living with dementia” Doug and Tina said.

The Port Macquarie-Hastings, Myall Lakes and Tweed Heads electoral districts all feature in the top three dementia prevalence rates in NSW state electoral districts.

Event Details
Date: Wednesday, October 11 2017
Location: The Glasshouse, Port Macquarie
Time: 8:45am – 5:00pm

For more information about the conference and to register go to

Omnicare Alliance is now the single largest community aged and disability care support provider on the Mid North Coast, following the merger between four local not-for profits – Hastings District Respite Care, Meals on Wheels MNC, Hastings Home Modifications and Parklands Cottage. Omnicare Alliance provides services to the communities in Port Macquarie, Sawtell, Kempsey, Wauchope, Camden Haven, Taree and the Greater Lakes.

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