Grant supports new toolkit for people living with dementia and deafness

The Dementia Centre, HammondCare has welcomed the awarding of a grant from the Deafness Foundation to create a toolkit for people living with dementia who are Deaf.

Dementia Centre Director A/Prof Colm Cunningham said that while general information, advice and support for dementia is readily available, there are no suitable resources in Australia for Deaf people.

“The Deafness and Dementia Toolkit we plan to produce, thanks to the grant from the Deafness Foundation, will promote a better understanding of the impact of dementia and the specific needs of Deaf people,” A/Prof Cunningham said.

“Resources in print and online will include information on support services and how the environment, communication and care approaches can enable the person to maintain engagement with their community. There will also be tips and strategies specifically targeted for Deaf people about living well with dementia,” he said.
“Our toolkit will build on the work of the British Deaf Association by creating resources specifically for the Australian context. And our project working group will include representatives from both the Deaf and dementia communities as well as other relevant bodies with deafness and dementia expertise.”

The Deafness and Dementia toolkit is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020 and will be launched at the International Dementia Conference – Care in the Age of Outrage – on June 11-12, 2020 at Sydney Hilton.

One of the plenary speakers at the conference is Mary Jane Grant from Maine, United States, who was raised by Deaf parents and whose mother now lives with dementia.

Videos of her heart-warming interactions with her mother in the context of deafness and dementia have been viewed by millions of people across the globe.

A number of representatives of Deaf elder organisations have appeared at Aged Care Royal Commission community forums highlighting the lack of resources and support for older Deaf people, and it is hoped the new toolkit will be a small part of filling this gap.