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This Dementia Action week, find out how you can expand your skills in dementia support

Elder care nurse playing jigsaw puzzle with senior woman in nursing home

Today marks the start of Dementia Action Week, to include World Alzheimer’s Day on 21 September. If you’re working independently supporting ageing people in your local community, specialist knowledge in Dementia care is a highly sought after skill. We take a look at some of the free courses that you could take right now to expand your knowledge in the area.

According to Dementia Australia, there is an estimated 447,115 Australians living with dementia in 2019. With an estimated 250 people joining the population with dementia each day, this total number is expected to increase to 589,807 by 2028.

By that stage, there will be almost 1.5 million people in Australia involved in the care of someone living with dementia. In short, the number of people living with dementia in a residential or home setting is on the rise. As an independent support worker, specialist skills in dementia support will be in demand – particularly as an increasing number of ageing Australians seek to maintain their independence for longer.

Demand for dementia skills on the rise

As reported in Australian Ageing Agenda, the Royal Commission has heard of hundreds of instances where a lack of knowledge about best practice dementia support has resulted in poor care outcomes. In the article, Danielle Wrench, CEO of Alzheimer’s WA describes a very specific skill set that’s required to support someone with dementia;

“This includes an understanding of the lived experience of dementia. Not just how it affects a person’s brain physically, but how it affects them emotionally and spiritually.”

As an independent support worker offering your services directly to clients via Mable, you have the ability to create a personal brand that sells the services that you excel at. Similarly, Mable clients are using the platform because of the control and flexibility it affords them to be able to select individual workers who suit their needs best.

When clients are using Mable, they’re also looking for continuity of support. The experience of dementia can look different from one person to the next, and clients are often looking for expert support from someone they can build an ongoing relationship with.

Start expanding your skills today.

We’ve previously taken a look at the best ways to expand your skills while working as an independent support worker. Working independently means you are often wearing multiple hats. Luckily there are a range of flexible, online study options that will enable you to fit your studies around your clients.

The Centre for Dementia Learning

A great place to start is at The Centre for Dementia Learning from Dementia Australia. Here, you can access a number of free modules, pay a small fee for individual classes or sign up for their yearly subscription of $60 to access a range of courses, podcasts and videos. Topics include things like ‘A problem solving approach to behaviours’, ‘Nutrition and Dementia: Food for thought’ and ‘Understanding younger onset dementia.’

Dementia Training Australia

Dementia Training Australia is funded by the Federal Government to provide dementia education and training across Australia. Here, you’ll find a number of free online training courses which you can take anywhere, anytime – as well as certificates which you can download on completion. Courses run from 2 to 5 hours and topics include; ‘Community Care and Dementia – Understanding the Condition’ and ‘Community Care and Dementia – Responsive Behaviours’

Dementia Training Australia also offers Dementia Essentials, a free, 3-day nationally-accredited dementia education course. This course is delivered in person and available in every State and Territory across Australia.

Open University is another great resource to search for articles, videos and short course (both paid and free). Here, the courses change regularly so it’s best to check in from time to time to see what’s available. Free courses, like this one on Designing Spaces for Dementia Care is available on their free course platform, OpenLearn.

If you’re interested in working for yourself supporting people in your community, you can find more information about how Mable works here.

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