Essay competition

Students ace Dementia-Friendly essay competition

The media has a role to play in both influencing how people with dementia are perceived, understood and treated. The awareness-raising capacity of media can also "advance government policy efforts aimed at improving the quality of life of people with dementia and their carers."

It is these insights from Giverny Witheridge which have earned the second year University of Wollongong, Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies, student first place in the National Dementia Essay Writing Competition.

Giverny also wrote about how “the use of respectful, empowering language and positive imagery can also help to promote the dignity and self-worth of people living with dementia.”

Giverny dedicated her essay The dialogue of dementia, to her Nonna and Nonno "who are living with dementia every day." You can read The dialogue of dementia in full on the Australian Journal of Dementia Care’s website.

Shan Crosbie, Bachelor of Creative Arts student at The Australian National University in Canberra took out first place in the third year category with her essay What are the benefits of engaging with the visual arts in a gallery environment for people living with dementia in Australia?

Shan's essay looks at the role of engagement in the development of a Dementia-Friendly Australia and the National Gallery of Australia's "Art and Dementia" program. It is also available in full to read at the Australian Journal of Dementia Care.

The essay competition was supported by the Dementia Training Study Centres, the Australian Journal Dementia Care and Dementia Australia. Second and third year university students were invited to take part during Dementia Awareness Month in September 2015. Winners received a $2000 prize. The National Dementia Essay Competition was the first to be held in Australia and attracted entries from undergraduate students from 26 universities, representing more than 20 different fields.

Dementia Australia would like to extend congratulations to Giverny and Shan and thank all who submitted essays for consideration.