Free dementia events for carers

Associate Professor Steve Macfarland at a recent Supporting Complex Dementia event. (Supplied)

Health professionals and those caring for people living with dementia will have the opportunity to hear from experts in the field at two free events in Geelong.

Government-funded dementia behaviour support program Dementia Support Australia (DSA) will host the two Supporting Complex Dementia events at Rydges Geelong on Thursday, April 18.

Geriatric psychiatrist Associate Professor Steve Mcfarlane, one of the country’s leading experts in dementia, will lead the events, delving into the common issues people face when caring for those living with the condition.

Attendees will hear from an expert panel, have the chance to ask questions during a Q&A section of the event and also have access to a post-event networking space.

Assoc. Prof Macfarlane said the events would include important information on support options people could access.

“Psychiatric symptoms are common in dementia,” he said.

“Care staff and family carers will often see symptoms and not know where to best seek help.

“When a person living with dementia is experiencing changes to their behaviour, DSA works with you to understand the causes and helps you to improve their quality of life.”

DSA head Marie Alford said at previous events the panel had answered questions about how to best respond to unexpected behavioural changes and how carers could get the right support.

“Many people living with dementia will experience some change to their behaviour over time,” Ms Alford said.

“If we understand the causes of these changes, we can better respond. This is good for the person living with dementia and those that provide care.”

Other topics covered at the events will include how depression and anxiety can impact dementia, the difference between mental health and dementia and ways families and care providers can work together.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates over 400,000 Australians live with dementia and predict that number will rise to over 700,000 by 2044.

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