Connections for Life with Dementia

Connections for Life with Dementia is a collaborative research project bringing together expertise from people with dementia and their care partners, the University of Wollongong, and industry partners including Kiama Council and Blue Haven.  The purpose is to understand, support, and enhance social connections and quality of life for people with dementia.

In 2019, the research team worked closely with staff, families and residents with (or at risk of) dementia at Blue Haven to better understand some of their needs as they transitioned to the new facility, Blue Haven Bonaira.

It was clear that residents with dementia could benefit from personalised support during the transition.  This led the team to partner with Mindful Generations and UOW Maker Space to create a range of personalised items to encourage residents’ sense of identity and establish a stronger basis for their social connections.

Dr Louisa Smith (UOW), facilitating a session at the UOW Maker Space to inspire the ‘care imagination’ of the participants and support their making of personal objects for residents living with dementia at Blue Haven

Dr Louisa Smith (UOW), facilitating a session at the UOW Maker Space to inspire the ‘care imagination’ of the participants and support their making of personal objects for residents living with dementia at Blue Haven

The Scarf-e is a large scarf with clip-on activity items (tactile, cognitive, visual and reminiscence) as well as pockets for glasses or other personal items.  It enables the wearer to access those items and engage with the activities whenever they choose to, without having to wait or rely on someone to provide them.  Engagement with staff, care partners and residents in the production and selection of these items was important.

Marina Defreitas (Mindful Generations) shares a moment of connection with a resident at Blue Haven

Observations by the team highlighted the value of these personal objects not only in supporting residents through the larger transition to a new facility but also in navigating the numerous smaller transitions that make up all our lives and can be particularly challenging for some people with dementia.

To find out more about this project please visit: http://www.uow.info/connections or contact Dr Louisa Smith louisas@uow.edu.au

Subscribe to newsletter HERE

Research team

This project is being conducted by A/Prof Lyn Phillipson (University of Wollongong), Dr Louisa Smith (University of Wollongong), Nick Guggisberg (Kiama Municipal Council), Clare Rogers (Blue Haven), Dale Wakefield (Blue Haven), Paul van den Dolder (Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District), Dennis Frost (Southern Dementia Advisory Group), and Lynda Henderson (Southern Dementia Advisory Group).

This project is funded by the University of Wollongong (Global Challenges) and Blue Haven.

 

Dr Louisa Smith                                             Dr Lyn Phillipson                                   Kishan Karripanon