Celebrate inclusive, festive events with apps and tips to inspire A Better Visit

Innovative, free information and resources are available to encourage positive interaction between families, friends and people living with dementia, especially during festive gatherings.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said Christmas and New Year events can sometimes be daunting, confusing and isolating for someone living with dementia.

“Family members tell us that often they don’t know how to communicate and interact with a loved one who has dementia especially as their dementia advances,” Ms McCabe said.

"And it may follow that other family members, children and friends start to withdraw and perhaps become less likely to include the person with dementia in everyday activities or schedule in regular visits.

"Over time this social isolation can have a profound impact on the person with dementia and primary carers.

“Introducing the interactive games to play on Dementia Australia’s new iPad app, A Better Visit is a fabulous and fun way to get a conversation started.”

Dementia Australia has collaborated with Lifeview Residential Care and Swinburne University of Technology’s Future Self and Design Living Lab to develop the new free, iPad app A Better Visit to support families and carers to improve communication and interaction with people living with dementia in residential care or in the community.

The app features a range of two-player games such as Tic Tac Tango, Marble Maze and Gone Fishing, designed to enhance communication and facilitate positive social interactions between people with dementia, their carers and families.  

“By observing and listening to people living with dementia, the team of Swinburne University of Technology researchers were able to tailor elements such as adjustable speeds, include classic songs to prompt toe-tapping and singalongs, and design clear buttons and simple instructions.  We are delighted with the positive impact this is having enhancing visits with families and their loved ones living with dementia,” Ms McCabe said.

The free ‘A Better Visit’ app for iPads is available from the Apple Store, and more information can be found at dementia.org.au/abettervisit.

“We also encourage people to plan ahead if they are hosting activities at home to ensure celebrations meet the needs of their family, friends and their loved ones living with dementia,” Ms MsCabe said. 

A help sheet for the holiday season is available at Dementia Tips 3 - Tips For Holiday Cheer or further advice can be sought by calling the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.

The National Dementia Helpline will be operating nationally during the festive season from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday excluding public holidays.