Ask Annie app with dementia ‘micro-lessons’ to support home care workers

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With the support of Gandel Philanthropy, Dementia Australia has today launched an innovative mobile app that improves quality of care for people living with dementia by building the skills of home support and community care workers.   

Ask Annie is a mobile app that offers short, self-paced learning modules to help home support and community care workers refresh their skills and learn tips and techniques to provide better care to people living with dementia.  

‘Annie’ is a virtual tool for community care workers providing dementia care in the home. Annie guides users through a range of scenarios, based on real life experiences, to strengthen their dementia care skills.  

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe AM said Ask Annie was designed in collaboration with community care workers. 

“The app is an easy to use, convenient training tool, able to be purchased by provider organisations as a multi-licence package for their staff to access anywhere and anytime,” Ms McCabe said. 

“Once the team member signs up to the app, Annie is there to provide encouragement, tips and to offer ongoing training that is accessible whenever the care worker wants to schedule in a quick 10 or 15 minute check-in - across the country,” Ms McCabe said. 

“There are more than 130,000 people working in home support and community care across Australia, and they play a vital role for people living with dementia, their families and carers.  

“With almost half a million Australians living with dementia – which is projected to increase to 1.1 million people by 2058 – our community needs a greater focus on quality dementia care and ensuring continued training and support is available for the workforce.” 

Ask Annie was developed by Dementia Australia with Deakin University’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2), thanks to the generous support of Gandel Philanthropy.  

Gandel Philanthropy CEO Vedran Drakulic OAM said Ask Annie showcases how technology can be applied to improve dementia education and aged care in Australia.  

“Ask Annie provides workers in the aged care industry with the opportunity to receive dementia-specific training that is practical, accessible and flexible enough to fit into their demanding days,” Mr Drakulic said. 

“The vision for Ask Annie was to create a unique and immersive learning experience that directly leads to learning outcomes that can be translated into everyday practice.  

“Gandel Philanthropy is proud to partner with Dementia Australia to launch Ask Annie, and to further develop online learning experiences that lead to better care for people living with dementia."  

BlueCross General Manager Bridget Howes believes Ask Annie will significantly help home support and community care workers to develop their skills and improve care for people living with dementia.  

“Ask Annie can help to strengthen the skills of our team so that they can be even better carers for people living with dementia,” Ms Howes said.  

“The fact that it's accessible on a mobile phone and for our home carers, on the tablets they use at work, makes it really convenient too. It means that, for example, if one of our home carers has questions about how to care for a client living with dementia, like mealtimes or showering, they could take a few minutes before they arrive at their home to brush up on some tips that could help alleviate any challenges that may arise in the situation. 

“After a quick refresher, they would feel more equipped and empowered to better support the person in their care.” 

Ask Annie can be purchased through Dementia Australia's Centre for Dementia Learning: https://dementialearning.org.au/askannie 

For more information about the Dementia Australia Centre for Dementia Learning, its national services and technology, please visit dementialearning.org.au

About Dementia Australia 

Dementia Australia is the source of trusted information, education and services for the estimated half a million Australians living with dementia, and the almost 1.6 million people involved in their care. We advocate for positive change and support vital research. We are here to support people impacted by dementia, and to enable them to live as well as possible. No matter how you are impacted by dementia or who you are, we are here for you. 

For support, please contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500. An interpreter service is available and the Helpline is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday excluding public holidays. The National Dementia Helpline is funded by the Australian Government. People looking for information can also visit dementia.org.au  

About Gandel Philanthropy 

Gandel Philanthropy is one of Australia’s largest private family foundations and it has been the vehicle for charitable giving by the extended Gandel family since 1978. In that time the family has contributed over $100 million dollars to support leading charities across several areas of interest, including healthy and positive ageing. 

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Media contacts: Gabrielle Prabhu, 0447 253 583, [email protected]   

When talking or writing about dementia please refer to Dementia-Friendly Language Guidelines