The use of song-writing to improve the relationships between people living with dementia and their families is just one of 17 new projects that will share in more than $1 million in grants to conduct ground-breaking dementia research.
Dr Imogen Clark from the University of Melbourne was awarded a $50,000 Hazel Hawke Research Grant in Dementia Care and will use the funding to explore the potential of group song-writing as a means for improving social connection, mental health, wellbeing and quality of life for people with dementia and their family carers.
“Group song-writing, facilitated by a registered music therapist, is an innovative process involving social interaction, mental stimulation and emotional exploration with others in a similar situation to create original songs,” she said.
“The song-writing process is expected to help families and couples living with dementia to explore personal resources and challenges, and may assist them to continue living together in a loving and mutually supportive relationship for as long as possible.
“Songs written during the project will be performed and recorded to increase public awareness and understanding about what it is like to live with dementia,” she said.
Four PhD scholars will also be supported through the Dementia Australia Research Foundation, with Ms Paulene Mackell from RMIT University receiving the Consumer-Priority PhD Scholarship to explore and build on the ways in which art centres, located in remote Aboriginal communities, are currently providing support to older community members living with dementia.
The Chair of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation, Professor Graeme Samuel AC, said the grants provided vital support to early career researchers who were eager to make a difference in the field of dementia research.
“These grants are highly competitive and sought after in the research sector. They directly support Australian researchers who are keen to understand the causes of dementia and develop strategies to reduce dementia risk, provide accurate and timely diagnoses and improve treatment and care options for people who live with this disease,” he said.
Professor Samuel said that it was important to build capacity in the dementia research community by encouraging talented graduates to embark on a career in dementia.
“This funding ensures that new and early career researchers can contribute to our increasing knowledge of dementia. With the number of Australians living with dementia expected to more than double by 2056, an established and committed workforce of dementia researchers is urgently required,” he said.
For the full list of successful applicants, please click here.
Dementia Australia Research Foundation is the research arm of Dementia Australia. It supports and funds research to help people living with dementia and their families, including research to develop new treatments for the future. An estimated 425,000 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach more than 1.1 million by 2056.
National Dementia Helpline: 1800 100 500
An interpreter service is available (The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)
Dementia is a National Health Priority Area