Free, live-in dementia training offered in Tamworth

Innovative residential training for people with dementia living at home and their primary carers is being offered in rural NSW.

Going to Stay at Home is an Australian Government Department of Social Services initiative in collaboration with HammondCare and will be run in Tamworth for one week only from March 16 at Quest Apartments.

Going to Stay at Home is based on the successful research conducted at Sydney’s Prince Henry Hospital in the 1980s led by international expert Professor Henry Brodaty. The research trailed an intensive training program for carers, where both carer and the person living with dementia, went to stay at the hospital. The carer received training while the person living with dementia enjoyed a stimulating respite program.The whole group would meet up again for social activities and meals.

This was a randomised controlled trial where 96 couples were either allocated into a training group, waited six months for training, or only received respite care. Following up carers a year later, those who had received training showed significantly less stress and better general health than those carers who had not received the training. When the results were further evaluated three, five and eight years later, the researchers found that those people living with dementia whose carers received the training lived longer and remained at home longer before they needed to enter a residential facility.

Exceptional feedback

More recently the program was run at HammondCare Miranda in Sydney's southern suburbs and one of the organisers, physiotherapist Jason Li said the feedback from that course has exceptional.

"Carers may not feel the need for such program in the early stages, but it is always good to plan and understand the journey ahead” Mr Li said. "With such good feedback from participants who attended the Miranda program we are pleased to be able to extend the benefits to other carers ad people with dementia.

“The program will be particularly good for those people who have been more recently received a diagnosis of dementia (within the last 12-18 months) and are wanting to remain at home."

Comprehensive program

The course includes:

    • Helpful strategies – including stress management; dealing with emotional impacts (stress, anger, grief, guilt), self-care, exercise and back care, nutrition, communication and problem solving.
    • Understanding dementia
    • Planning for the future: legal, medical and financial
    • Developing effective personal, family and community and professional support networks.
    • Social activities and outings
Transforming lives

Meredith Gresham, Senior Dementia Consultant (research and design) at HammondCare's Dementia Centre, coordinated the original project alongside Professor Brodaty. Her belief is that the training not only transformed lives of carers, it improved the lives of those living with dementia.

“Being residential takes away the stress of just getting to carer support and education. Meals and day to day household chores are taken care of which allows the cares to focus on themselves for a week. It’s like a holiday with added benefit of support from people who have experience of caring for someone with dementia.”

Ms Gresham is part of the team coordinating the Tamworth project, alongside Deborah Moore, physiotherapist Jason Li, and Tamworth based HammondCare Registered Nurse, Sophie Bailey. 

For more information please contact the Going to Stay at Home team on 0406429640 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..