Uniting AgeWell has embarked on two research projects that could transform the mental health outcomes of older people living with dementia and their family or carers.
A two-year partnership with Swinburne University and Dementia Australia aims to address the gap in the mental health needs of older people with dementia in residential aged care.
More than 120 residents from selected Victorian sites will be approached to participate in the study, along with a family member and staff member they nominate.
The research involves some participants meeting with counsellors to reminisce and share ideas, while others assist with cognitive-behavioural and reminiscence activities, attend training workshops, monthly support groups, or monthly meetings to plan activities.
It is hoped the results will enable Uniting AgeWell to develop better social and emotional wellbeing programs, which could be adopted across the wider industry.
The organisation has also partnered with University of Melbourne to investigate the therapeutic benefits of singing groups on people with dementia and their family members or carers.
The test group, or Remini-Sing group, will meet weekly at Brighton, Noble Park, Forest Hill, Hawthorn, Bendigo, Kingsville or Hobart over the next few months to sing old favourites and new songs, and learn how to use music at home.