Younger onset dementia



In 2018, there is an estimated 26,443 people with younger onset dementia in Australia, expected to rise to 29,375 people by 2025 and 42,252 people by 2056

Younger onset dementia describes any form of dementia that has an onset of symptoms before age 65. Dementia can develop at any age, but a lack of awareness and understanding, even among health professionals, means that people with younger onset dementia are often misdiagnosed and face even longer delays in getting a diagnosis of dementia.

This post looks at some recent resources around younger onset dementia as well as revisiting some older favourites.

Dementia Australia help sheets 

 Prescription for life (2016)


The Lovell Foundation has teamed up with Edith Cowan University (ECU) and not-for-profit aged care and retirement living providers Bethanie and Mercy Health, to develop an  innovative educational toolkit to support carers of people living with Younger Onset Dementia (YOD).

The e-flipbook incorporates pre- and post-knowledge tests, which will allow anyone who completes the book to be credited with professional development.

Download the free E-Resource


somebodyIusedtoKnowSomebody I Used to Know  /   Wendy Mitchell and Anna Wharton  (2018)

When she was diagnosed with dementia at the age of fifty-eight, Wendy Mitchell was confronted with the most profound questions about life and identity. All at once, she had to say goodbye to the woman she used to be. Her demanding career in the NHS, her ability to drive, cook and run – the various shades of her independence – were suddenly gone.

Philosophical, profoundly moving, insightful and ultimately full of hope, Somebody I Used to Know is both a heart-rending tribute to the woman Wendy once was, and a brave affirmation of the woman dementia has seen her become.


young onset dementia_ 2018Young onset dementia : a guide to recognition, diagnosis, and supporting individuals with dementia and their families  /  Hilda Hayo, Alison Ward, and Jacqueline Parkes (2018)

The book explores the experiences of people living with a diagnosis of young onset dementia through detailed case studies, and gives learning points to implement in practice for the better provision of appropriate support and care. It explains the need for adapting services which are often designed for older people, and how the complicated diagnostic process can lead to misdiagnosis among younger people. Key issues are considered, including at-risk groups, work and dealing with potential loss of employment, changes in personal and family relationships, readjusting life expectations and plans, and social isolation.


ndis yod

Supporting people with younger onset dementia in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) / Dementia Australia (2017)

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the new way supports will be provided to eligible Australians with a disability or disease such as younger onset dementia.

The purpose of the NDIS is to provide people with greater choice, individualised support and the flexibility to manage these supports.

People living with younger onset dementia are now better equipped to understand and navigate the NDIS through the release of the NDIS Toolkit for People Living with Younger Onset Dementia and their Carers 


before I forget_lge.jpgBefore I Forget: How I Survived a Diagnosis of Younger-Onset Dementia at 46  /  Christine Bryden  (2015)

When she was just 46, Christine Bryden – science advisor to the prime minister and single mother of three daughters – was diagnosed with younger-onset dementia. Doctors told her to get her affairs in order as she would soon be incapable of doing so. Twenty years later she is still thriving, still working hard to rewire her brain even as it loses its function.
The unusually slow progress of her condition puts Christine in a unique position to describe the lived experience of dementia, a condition affecting tens of millions of people worldwide. In this revealing memoir, she looks back on her life in an effort to understand how her brain – once her greatest asset, now her greatest challenge – works now. She shares what it’s like to start grasping for words that used to come easily. To be exhausted from visiting a new place. To suddenly realise you don’t remember how to drive. To challenge, every day, the stereotype of the ’empty shell’. Brave and inspiring, this is Christine’s legacy for people with dementia and those who care about them.


Dementia Australia Quality Dementia Care Series

Quality Dementia Care 5 (2015)
Younger onset dementia: a practical guide
Quality Dementia Care 4 (2013)
Understanding younger onset dementia 


what-the-hell-happened-to-my-brainWhat the Hell Happened to My Brain? : Living beyond dementia  /  By Kate Swaffer  (2016)

Kate Swaffer was just 49 years old when she was diagnosed with a form of younger onset dementia. In this book, she offers an all-too-rare first-hand insight into that experience, sounding a clarion call for change in how we ensure a better quality of life for people with dementia. Kate describes vividly her experiences of living with dementia, exploring the effects of memory difficulties, loss of independence, leaving long-term employment, the impact on her teenage sons, and the enormous impact of the dementia diagnosis on her sense of self. Never shying away from difficult issues, she tackles head-on stigma, inadequacies in care and support, and the media’s role in perpetuating myths about dementia, suggesting ways in which we can include and empower people with the diagnosis. She also reflects on the ways in which her writing and dementia advocacy work have taken her on a process of self-discovery and enabled her to develop a new and meaningful personal identity. Kate’s powerful words will challenge misconceptions about dementia, and open our eyes to new ways of supporting people with the diagnosis.


rain birdsRain birds  /  Harriet McKnight.  (2017)

Alan and Pina have lived contentedly in isolated – and insular – Boney Point for thirty years. Now they are dealing with Alan’s devastating early-onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis. As he is cast adrift in the depths of his own mind, Pina is left to face the consequences alone, until the arrival of a flock of black cockatoos seems to tie him, somehow, to the present.
Nearby, conservation biologist Arianna Brandt is involved in a project trying to reintroduce the threatened glossy black cockatoos into the wilds of Murrungowar National Park. Alone in the haunted bush, and with her birds failing to thrive, Arianna’s personal demons start to overwhelm her and risk undoing everything.
At first, when the two women’s paths cross, they appear at loggerheads but – in many ways – they are invested in the same outcome but for different reasons.
Ultimately, unexpected events will force them both to let go of their pasts and focus on the future.

beforeyouforgetBefore you forget  /  Julia Lawrinson (2017)

Year Twelve is not off to a good start for Amelia. Art is her world, but her art teacher hates everything she does ; her best friend has stopped talking to her ; her mother and father may as well be living in separate houses; and her father is slowly forgetting everything. Even Amelia.



forgetting-fosterForgetting Foster  /  Dianne Touchell  (2016)

‘Foster suddenly recognised the feeling that rolled over him and made him feel sick. It was this: Dad was going away somewhere all on his own. And Foster was already missing him.’ Foster Sumner is seven years old. He likes toy soldiers, tadpole hunting, going to school and the beach. Best of all, he likes listening to his dad’s stories. But then Foster’s dad starts forgetting things. No one is too worried at first. Foster and Dad giggle about it. But the forgetting gets worse. And suddenly no one is laughing anymore.

For more resources see our 2013 post on younger onset dementia


Fiction and dementia


Stories have been told for as long as we have been able to speak.  The writing and reading of fiction to facilitate the telling and retelling of stories is an important aspect of being human. The enduring appeal of the novel is demonstrated by the place of libraries and bookshops in the community, the flourishing of book groups and the popularity of creative writing courses.
The body of work weaving the topic of dementia into everyday stories continues to grow.
Take a look at some of the standout titles added in 2017 and consider for your summer reading list.

A full list of fiction  held in the Dementia Australia libraries can be found here.


rain birdsRain birds  /  Harriet McKnight (2017)
Alan and Pina have lived contentedly in isolated – and insular – Boney Point for thirty years. Now they are dealing with Alan’s devastating early-onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis. As he is cast adrift in the depths of his own mind, Pina is left to face the consequences alone, until the arrival of a flock of black cockatoos seems to tie him, somehow, to the present.

Nearby, conservation biologist Arianna Brandt is involved in a project trying to reintroduce the threatened glossy black cockatoos into the wilds of Murrungowar National Park. Alone in the haunted bush, and with her birds failing to thrive, Arianna’s personal demons start to overwhelm her and risk undoing everything.

At first, when the two women’s paths cross, they appear at loggerheads but – in many ways – they are invested in the same outcome but for different reasons.
Ultimately, unexpected events will force them both to let go of their pasts and focus on the future.


gingerbread houseThe gingerbread house  /  Kate Beaufoy  (2017)

Recently-redundant Tess is keen to start work on a novel and needs to make it work. She and her freelance journalist husband Donn desperately need the money and three weeks looking after Donn’s aged mother while the carer takes a break seems like an opportunity to get started. She knows it’ll be tough looking after Eleanor, who has increasingly severe dementia, but she’ll surely find some time for herself, won’t she? Arriving at the isolated country house their daughter Katia has named The Gingerbread House, a tearful Tess begins to realise that she has a far more difficult few weeks ahead than expected. Her mother-in-law is now in need of constant attention and Donn can’t help as he has to stay in town for work. Narrated by Katia – their only child – who prefers not to speak but observes everything, The Gingerbread House is a deeply moving and compassionate story of a family and its tensions and struggles with her grandmother’s dementia, as the reclusive teenager describes the effect it has on everyone in a strangely detached but compassionate way.


goodbye vitaminGoodbye, vitamin  /  Rachel Khong (2017)

Ruth is thirty and her life is falling apart: she and her fiancé are moving house, but he’s moving out to live with another woman; her career is going nowhere; and then she learns that her father, a history professor beloved by his students, has Alzheimer’s. At Christmas, her mother begs her to stay on and help. For a year. Goodbye, Vitamin is the wry, beautifully observed story of a woman at a crossroads, as Ruth and her friends attempt to shore up her father’s career; she and her mother obsess over the ambiguous health benefits – in the absence of a cure – of dried jellyfish supplements and vitamin pills; and they all try to forge a new relationship with the brilliant, childlike, irascible man her father has become.

Young adult writing

beforeyouforgetBefore you forget  /  Julia Lawrinson (2017)

Year Twelve is not off to a good start for Amelia. Art is her world, but her art teacher hates everything she does ; her best friend has stopped talking to her ; her mother and father may as well be living in separate houses; and her father is slowly forgetting everything. Even Amelia.

At times funny, at times heartbreaking, this is an ultimately uplifting story about the delicate fabric of family and friendship, and the painful realisation that not everything can remain the same forever.

For the younger readers


Grandma forgets  /  Paul Russell and Nicky Johnston.  (2017)

A warm, uplifting picture book about a family bound by love as they cope with their grandmother’s dementia. When your grandmother can’t remember your name it should be sad, but maybe it is just an opportunity to tell her more often how much you love her. Over the years, the little girl has built up a treasure trove of memories of time spent with Grandma: sausages for Sunday lunch, driving in her sky-blue car to the beach, climbing her apple trees while she baked a delicious apple pie, and her comforting hugs during wild storms. But now, Grandma can’t remember those memories. She makes up new rules for old games and often hides Dad’s keys.  This is a warm, hopeful story about a family who sometimes needs to remind their grandmother a little more often than they used to about how much they care.

Past posts highlighting fiction







Doll, child or animal representational therapy and dementia


Doll therapy, child representational therapy and animal representational therapy are successful forms of therapy for supporting some people with dementia. It has been found, both anecdotally and clinically,  that these therapies can reduce anxiety and agitation  and have a truly trans-formative effect for some people with dementia, bringing them a sense of purpose, joy and peace.

doll therapy in dementia careDoll Therapy in Dementia Care : Evidence and Practice  /  Mitchell, Gary  (2016)

Advocating doll therapy as an intervention for people with dementia, this book combines theory and evidence to show its many benefits and present guidelines for best-practice. Despite being widely and internationally used, doll therapy is a controversial and often misunderstood intervention. This book debunks the myths surrounding doll therapy, highlighting its proven positive impact on the well-being of people with dementia. The book gives care professionals an indispensable overview of doll therapy within the context of current advocated best practices, using original research and evidence to present the rationale of its use. The book also engages with ethical issues, ensuring that professionals are aware of the aspects of doll-therapy that may be counter-productive to person-centred care. Providing clear guidelines on how best to utilise doll therapy, this comprehensive book is an important resource for any professional looking to implement this intervention.


Understanding Behaviour in Dementia that ChallengesUnderstanding behaviour in dementia that challenges  /  Ian Andrew James and Louisa Jackman  (2017)

This revised second edition guide to assessment and treatment of behaviours that challenge associated with dementia includes a chapter on the  Use of therapeutic dolls 



articles_finalTherapeutic use of dolls for people living with dementia: A critical review of the literature (2016) in Dementia Vol 15, Issue 5

There are a number of therapies currently available to assist healthcare professionals and carers with non-pharmacological treatment for people living with dementia. One such therapy that has been growing in clinical practice is doll therapy. Providing dolls to some people living with dementia has the potential to enhance personal well-being through increased levels of communication and engagement with others. Despite its potential for benefits, the practice is currently under-developed in healthcare literature, probably due to varied ethical interpretations of its practice.

Implementation of a baby doll therapy protocol for people with dementia: Innovative practice (2015) in Dementia Vol 14, Issue 5

Dementia is exhibited by both emotional and physical states such as agitation. Chemical restraints, often used for agitated behaviors, are not always effective and produce untoward effects. Baby doll therapy is a nonpharmacologic therapy that can affect agitated behavior in dementia patients, yet a protocol for the therapy did not exist. An implementation protocol for doll therapy for those with dementia was developed and implemented with 16 residents in a dementia care center. Outcomes were measurements of the impact of the dolls on six areas of the resident’s behavior and their reactions to the doll. Participants had an increase in level of happiness, activity/liveliness, interaction with staff and others, and ease of giving care. There was also a reduction in the level of anxiety. The increase in happiness was a statistically significant outcome. Baby doll therapy is an effective nonpharmacological approach for improving the well-being of patients with moderate to severe dementia.

The utilization of robotic pets in dementia care (2017) in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Vol.55(2) pp. 569-574.

Behavioral problems may affect individuals with dementia, increasing the cost and burden of care. Pet therapy has been known to be emotionally beneficial for many years. Robotic pets have been shown to have similar positive effects without the negative aspects of traditional pets. Robotic pet therapy offers an alternative to traditional pet therapy.

Group sessions with Paro in a nursing home: Structure,observations and interviews (2016) in Australasian Journal on Ageing Volume 35, Issue 2 June  pp. 106–112

Observations were conducted focusing on engagement, how residents treated the robot and if the robot acted as a social catalyst. In addition, 16 residents and 21 staff were asked open-ended questions at the end of the study about the sessions and the robot.
This study supports other research showing Paro has psychosocial benefits and provides a guide for those wishing to use Paro in a group setting in aged care.

Maria’s baby: a case study  (2016) in Nursing Ethics. Vol.23(6),  pp. 713-716.




Grief and dementia


Grief is an omnipresent part of the dementia journey,  experienced by both persons with dementia and their loved ones.
It can present in a  variety of ways ; whether ambiguous loss, anticipatory grief or the loss of an earlier life grief should be fully acknowledged and reckoned with.
A selection of resources follows that may assist in this process.


relationshipsandementiaPaper: Relationships and dementia – Alzheimer’s Australia NSW Discussion Paper Number 19 (June 2017)

This discussion paper concludes that society needs to recognise, acknowledge and understand that people living with dementia, their carers and families face relationship difficulties and challenges, and more support is needed to enable people to work through complex feelings of grief and loss.
Download resource

loving-someone-who-has-dementiaLoving someone who has dementia : how to find hope while coping with stress and grief  /  Pauline Boss  (c2011)

This book is intended for partners, family members, friends, neighbours and caregivers of a person living with dementia.
The author discusses the meaning of relationships and offers approaches in a conversational style, suggesting ways to embrace rather than resist the ambiguity of a relationship with someone who has dementia.

caring-for-a-loved-oneBook chapter: Being with grief 
in Caring for a loved one with dementia : a mindfulness-based guide for reducing stress and making the best of your journey together  /  Marguerite Manteau-Rao  (2016)

This chapter looks at ways that mindfulness can help care partners be with their grief while also exploring the grief experience for the person with dementia and what that means for the relationship.


Year of magical thinkingThe year of magical thinking  /  Joan Didion  (2007)

In what has become a classic, Joan Didion in a clear and precise voice narrates a year that began when her husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne, collapsed from a fatal heart attack.  Written to purge her grief and to set her loss in the context of her resulting life the result is compelling reading.

“Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.”

“We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.”

andtimestoodstillAnd Time Stood Still  /  By Alice Taylor  (2016)

The author has known, loved, and lost many people throughout her life. When we experience grief, sharing in someone else’s story can often help, and in the hands of master storyteller Alice Taylor, it may be possible to find solace and the space to reflect on your own loss.



The bereavement experience of spousal caregivers to persons with dementia: Reclaiming self / Shelley Peacock, [et al]  in Dementia   Published online February 17, 2016

Spouses of persons living with dementia both anticipate future loss and grieve for multiple losses occurring with caregiving and this ultimately influences their bereavement experience.


Dementia grief: A theoretical model of a unique grief experience / Kesstan Blandin and  Renee Pepin  in Dementia (2017) Vol 16, Issue 1, pp. 67 – 78

This paper  introduces the Dementia Grief Model, describing the unique characteristics of dementia grief, and presents the psychological states associated with the process of dementia grief.


To access resources or assistance with any topic please contact the library


The Montessori approach for people with dementia


For those inspired by the recent presentation and workshops of Dr Cameron Camp at the The 17th Alzheimer’s Australia Biennial National Dementia Conference  or simply if you want to find out more about the use of the Montessori method for engagement with people with dementia read on.

2015 post
2013 post

Video – Purposeful Activities for Dementia

Purposeful activities for dementia complements other professional development resources about engaging people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, including the downloadable Relate Motivate Appreciate toolkitPurposeful activities for dementia was developed  for families and aged care staff.

This resource has been created for anyone interested in providing people with dementia a range of interesting, encouraging and enriching activities: aged care staff, family carers, activity support workers, personal care attendants in residential and community settings, and people with dementia who want a resource to advocate for purposeful activities. Visit web page

The video is divided into six chapters. Each chapter addresses key messages and provides points for reflection. You can watch the entire video, or each individual chapter below.

Recent evaluation of Montessori approaches



Assessment of capabilities in persons with advanced stage of dementia: Validation of The Montessori Assessment System (MAS)
Jérôme Erkes, Cameron J Camp, Stéphane Raffard, Marie-ChristineGély-Nargeot and, Sophie Bayard in Dementia  First Published September 21, 2017

This study evaluated the validity and reliability of the Montessori Assessment System. The Montessori Assessment System assesses preserved abilities in persons with moderate to severe dementia. In this respect, this instrument provides crucial information for the development of effective person-centered care plans. A total of 196 persons with a diagnosis of dementia in the moderate to severe stages of dementia were recruited in 10 long-term care facilities in France. All participants completed the Montessori Assessment System, the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale and/or the Mini Mental State Examination and the Severe Impairment Battery-short form. The internal consistency and temporal stability of the Montessori Assessment System were high. Additionally, good construct and divergent validity were demonstrated. Factor analysis showed a one-factor structure. The Montessori Assessment System demonstrated satisfactory psychometric properties while being a useful instrument to assess capabilities in persons with advanced stages of dementia and hence to develop person-centered plans of care.   Abstract


Montessori-based activities among persons with late-stage dementia: Evaluation of mental and behavioral health outcomes
Scott E Wilks, P August Boyd, Samantha M Bates, Daphne S Cain, Jennifer R Geiger in Dementia  First Published April 27, 2017

Literature regarding Montessori-based activities with older adults with dementia is fairly common with early stages of dementia. Conversely, research on said activities with individuals experiencing late-stage dementia is limited because of logistical difficulties in sampling and data collection. Given the need to understand risks and benefits of treatments for individuals with late-stage dementia, specifically regarding their mental and behavioral health, this study sought to evaluate the effects of a Montessori-based activity program implemented in a long-term care facility.  Abstract


Implementing Montessori Methods for Dementia: A Scoping Review
Sander L Hitzig,  Christine L Sheppard in  The Gerontologist, Volume 57, Issue 5, 1 October 2017, Pages e94–e114,

A  review was conducted to develop an understanding of Montessori-based programing (MBP) approaches used in dementia care and to identify optimal ways to implement these programs across various settings. Abstract


Effects of Sustained, Coordinated Activities Programming in Long-Term Care: The Memory in Rhythm® Program
Iva De Witt-Hoblit, Mary Neal Miller, Cameron J. Camp,  in  Advances in Aging Research, Vol.5 No.1, 2016

 An account of  the creation and pilot testing of a sustained, coordinated activities program, Memory in Rhythm®(MIR), which incorporated Montessori-Based Dementia Programming™, in a skilled nursing facility (SNF). Effects of implementing MIR then were examined in memory care units in 16 aged care centers—9 SNFs and 7 assisted living residences in Ohio. For these centers, all data were collected over a period of one year before and one year after implementation of MIR. Results indicate that implementation of MIR was associated with reductions in medication use, increased census, decreased employee turnover, decreased wandering and agitation, and increased sleeping at night, eating and capacity for activities of daily living. Read online


Implementing Montessori Methods for Dementia™ in Ontario long-term care homes: Recreation staff and multidisciplinary consultants’ perceptions of policy and practice issues
Kate Ducak, Margaret DentonGail Elliot in Dementia First Published January 8, 2016

Montessori-based activities use a person-centred approach to benefit persons living with dementia by increasing their participation in, and enjoyment of, daily life. This study investigated recreation staff and multidisciplinary consultants’ perceptions of factors that affected implementing Montessori Methods for Dementia™ in long-term care homes in Ontario, Canada. Qualitative data were obtained during semi-structured telephone interviews with 17 participants who worked in these homes. A political economy of aging perspective guided thematic data analysis. Barriers such as insufficient funding and negative attitudes towards activities reinforced a task-oriented biomedical model of care. Various forms of support and understanding helped put Montessori Methods for Dementia™ into practice as a person-centred care program, thus reportedly improving the quality of life of residents living with dementia, staff and family members. These results demonstrate that when Montessori Methods for Dementia™ approaches are learned and understood by staff they can be used as practical interventions for long-term care residents living with dementia. Abstract






The 17th Alzheimer’s Australia Biennial National Dementia Conference – Be the Change 2017 – is fast approaching. It is shaping up to be a fantastic conference, which will inspire delegates to Be the Change in improving the lives of people living with dementia.

Take the opportunity to be part of an amazing and unique event which has not been held in Melbourne since 2002. The conference takes place in less than two weeks and registration is still open. Book today.

The conference aims to inspire delegates to explore more innovative and creative ways to improve the quality of life and support of people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers.

An extraordinary list of international and national keynote speakers will present including;

  • Naomi Feil, USA, world-renowned since the 1960s, for her Validation method in dementia care;
  • Prof Sam Gandy, USA, an international expert in the metabolism amyloid that clogs the brain in people living with Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Prof Dawn Brooker, UK, who has dedicated her career to developing evidence based practical ways to enable those living with dementia to have the best possible quality of life.
  • Dr Cameron Camp, USA, Director of Research and Development for the Centre for Applied Research in Dementia. He is a world renowned specialist in integrating the Montessori method into dementia practice.
  • Christen Bryden, dementia advocate and author
  • Kate Swaffer, CEO Dementia Alliance International, and  advocate and activist for people living with dementia.

See the full list of keynote speakers

Interactive workshops will provide delegates with unique opportunities to hear from international thought leaders and interact with other delegates.

The event will offer delegates the opportunity to experience Alzheimer’s Australia’s award-winning, groundbreaking technology using virtual reality, video games, 3D design, apps and multiple websites.

You will be able to experience a world-first, walk-through, art installation, researching how sound impacts on our cognitive function, which is aiming to prompt our thinking around how the environment we create can be more supportive.

See the full program of speakers, concurrent sessions and workshops


Feed Your Senses at the conference


Through the use of technology, the Feed Your Senses space will inspire delegates to think about dementia in new ways, which can provide people living with dementia with greater independence and enjoyment of their lives.


In the Alzheimer’s Australia Sensory Garden, nature and technology meet to create an immersive learning experience. Delegates can play with the Virtual Forest™ and relax in a pop-up dementia-friendly garden. The garden will allow people living with dementia, their carers and families to appreciate the benefits of gardening and the outdoors. It also provides pointers on how to create dementia-friendly outdoor spaces. Guest speakers will explore gardening and cooking activities that benefit people living with dementia, their carers and families.


Explore various technology exhibits from local universities as well as Alzheimer’s Australia.

  • Swinburne University – Meet robots and play with iPad applications that assist people living with dementia.
  • Deakin University – Experience a Smart Home application that enables people living with dementia to live at home safely, and for longer.
  • Melbourne University – View Melbourne University’s Enabling Environments project, where architecture students have designed safe and creative spaces for people living in residential aged care.


Alzheimer’s Australia – Experience an immersive virtual reality in the life of Edie, who lives with dementia. Learn more about the websites, courses and services that Alzheimer’s Australia offers to support people living with dementia, their families and carers. The Alzheimer’s Australia marketing team will also be on hand to provide delegates with vital social media tips and tricks and answer any social media questions.


Music and dementia


 Music plays an important part in society, both past and present. Response to music is universal and it does not diminish with dementia. This post looks at  sustaining meaning and connection through music.

Music remembers me : connection and wellbeing in dementia  /  Kirsty Beilharz  (2017)music remembers me

Music remembers me includes moving stories from music engagement along with practical advice and tips about introducing music into daily care. Author Kirsty Beilharz has woven together fascinating insights into music, our brains and dementia with practical advice on music engagement.


Forever today : a memoir of love and amnesia  /  Wearing, Deborah  (2005)forever today

Clive Wearing is one of the most extreme cases of amnesia ever known. In 1985, a virus completely destroyed a part of his brain essential for memory, leaving him in a limbo of the constant present. An accomplished conductor and BBC music producer, Clive was at the height of his success when the illness struck. As damaged as Clive was, the musical part of his brain seemed unaffected.


DVD : Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me  (2014) I'll be me_glencampbell

In 2011, music legend Glen Campbell set out on an unprecedented tour across America. He thought it would last 5 weeks; instead it went for 151 spectacular sold out shows over a triumphant year and a half. What made this tour extraordinary was that Glen had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He was told to hang up his guitar and prepare for the inevitable. Instead, Glen and his wife went public with his diagnosis and announced that he and his family would set out on a ‘Goodbye Tour.’ The film documents this extraordinary journey as he and his family attempt to navigate the wildly unpredictable nature of Glen’s progressing disease using love, laughter and music as their medicine of choice.

DVD: Alive inside: A story of music & memory. A film by Michael Rossato-Bennett, 2014Alive Inside DVD

Alive Inside is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized and awakened by the simple act of listening to the music of their youth.

You can view the trailer for this wonderful film below:

 DVD: Twilight songs  /  Producer and story researcher Nicky Ruscoe  (2014)

Twilight Songs follows music practitioner Michael Mildren as he visits patients in aged care homes in Melbourne. By playing music for them on a variety of instruments, and singing songs from their past, he achieves a remarkable connection, one that helps bring them into the present and improves their quality of life. Michael has been doing this work for 20 years and is devoted to making the lives of the elderly more interesting and enjoyable through the power of music.
ABC Compass

articles_finalLove is listening  / Helen Scott  (2017)

Virtuoso percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie used her listening skills to make meaningful connections with care home residents with dementia. Helen Scott explains how the Love is Listening project worked.
The Journal of Dementia Care Vol 25 No 5 September/October 2017 p.14-15

Young dementia: together in perfect harmony (2017)

Singing in harmony creates togetherness and belonging among people with young onset dementia. Claire Watts and Sabrina Findlay report.
The Journal of Dementia Care Vol 25 No 5 September/October 2017 p.20-21

Music therapy: positive results, changes that last (2017)

Ming Hung Hsu explains how music therapy can help care professionals respond better to the needs of people with dementia, reducing distressing symptoms and improving quality of care.
The Journal of Dementia Care Vol 25 No 5 September/October 2017 p. 28-29