Online dementia course launched for volunteers

Dementia Training Australia

Friday, 31 May, 2024

Online dementia course launched for volunteers

A free online training course has been launched by Dementia Training Australia to help address the rise in dementia cases.

It is estimated that nine million Australians now volunteer their time each year. In recognition of National Volunteer Week, Dementia Training Australia has launched a free online course to equip volunteers with essential skills for supporting individuals living with dementia.

The Dementia Care Training for Volunteers course provides critical education on understanding dementia and delirium, effective communication strategies, managing behavioural changes and supporting daily activities.

“By 2058, 800,000 Australians will have dementia. This course empowers volunteers with the knowledge and skills to provide compassionate, personalised support, rewarding the experience for both volunteers and those they assist,” said Dr Isabelle Meyer, Executive Director of Dementia Training Australia.

Developed by leading dementia experts, the course is tailored for volunteers in various settings, including residential aged care facilities, home care and community assistance.

Catherine Bateman, who collaborated with DTA on this course, highlights the significant research supporting the benefits of volunteering and spending time with people living with dementia.

“Many people with dementia in aged care often feel lonely or bored, so having someone who’s a regular visitor can alleviate both those things and give the resident a greater quality of life,” Bateman said.

“We see the volunteer role to be similar to that of a family carer, performing many of the same tasks. Building this connection is incredibly rewarding for the volunteer and the resident with dementia, who eagerly anticipates these visits and the time spent together.”

The course is designed for a broad range of volunteers, including students, professionals and retired healthcare workers. While focused on aged care, it also benefits community assistance volunteers and anyone spending time with people living with dementia.

“We’ve had students, accountants, vets, retired nurses or allied health staff, and people who have cared for a loved one with dementia volunteering to support people with dementia. Although the course is focused on volunteers supporting residents in aged care homes, the course content will also be helpful for community assistance volunteers who help people with shopping and transportation. It’s beneficial for anyone wanting to spend time with people living with dementia as a companion and friend,” Bateman said.

“The course is free and takes four hours to complete, helping volunteers have more meaningful conversations, interactions and confidence when spending time with people living with dementia,” Meyer said.

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