‘I still want to spend quality time with him’: Adapting and implementing an evidence-based dyadic intervention program for people living with dementia in residential aged care
Living in residential aged care can be challenging, for people living with dementia and their care supporters. These people and their care supporters have asked for care programs that provide opportunities for social and emotional support, teach them strategies around how to participate in everyday living activities, and how to address changes in behaviours attributable to the disease. Programs that teach how to communicate with people living with dementia, to involve them in activities that are suitable to their abilities, or to understand behavioural changes that may occur when the person with dementia has difficulty expressing their needs or wants, have not been available in residential care. This study will adapt one such program that was designed for persons living in the community to residential care. Dr Rahja will evaluate if the adapted program can work in real-life. She will train care facility staff and invite residents and their care supporters to participate in the program. Dr Rahja will use surveys, interviews and group discussions to find out how beneficial and acceptable the program is. At the end, she will prepare a case study that describes if and how these types of programs can be included in residential care in the future.
Dr Miia Rahja is a registered occupational therapist and a post-doctoral research fellow with Flinders Health & Medical Research Institute. She also coordinates the Australian Dementia Network’s (ADNeT) “Registry” and “Screening and Trials” programs in South Australia.