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January 2022

Contents

New habits for the New Year

The New Year always provides the incentive to “turn over a new leaf”. And while we know it’s often hard to keep our New Year’s resolutions, 2022 will be different for most Australians.

The last two years have thrown up so many barriers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people became more socially isolated and slipped into unhealthy habits. We are now reaching impressive vaccination rates in Australia, and, despite new variants and outbreaks, 2022 will be the year we learn to live with COVID in our community and get on with our best lives.

It’s time to set a new goal, make a life plan and move forward with dementia.

Tips on goal setting

  • Don’t make too many goals and resolutions! It is easier and more manageable to change one thing at a time, so try to focus on the goal that is most important to you.
  • Set goals that are realistic and achievable.
  • If you think dementia will get in the way of you achieving your goals, read Managing your symptoms to achieve what's most important. Use the My Life Plan worksheet to help you identify barriers and work out strategies to overcome them.
  • Keep track of how you are achieving your goal. Ask others to help you by checking-in with you to see how you are going. You can also use technology to help keep track of and achieve your goals, such as the Strides: Goal & Habit Tracker App or Way of Life App which you can use on a mobile phone.
  • Try to keep going for at least three months, because it usually takes this long for a new behaviour to become a habit.
  • Join a group or find a buddy. For example, if you goal is improving your diet, consider joining a healthy cooking class. If your goal is exercising more, consider joining an exercise or balance class, or find an exercise buddy who wants to achieve the same goal.
You might find the goal setting and planning workbook produced by people with dementia in collaboration with Alzheimer’s UK useful.

The most popular goals

Being healthier, improving diet and exercising more continue to be the most popular goals. Here are some articles form the Person with Dementia section of the website which may help you with your planning for 2022.

Similar articles, tailored to carer health and well-being are in section 4 of the carer portal of the website.

Planning for the year ahead

Writing a life plan for 2022 can help you prioritise what is important to you, and what steps and strategies you need to get there.

Having a life plan helps you to stay in control and have purpose. It also helps the people who support you (family and friends, professionals) to understand what you want, so they can help you achieve your plan.

Read the Forward with Dementia article 5.1 Make a plan for this year and use the My Life Plan worksheet.

Remember, your life plan is flexible. As things change in your life, your plan might need to change.
 

Planning for the future

If you are getting organised, you can also consider planning for the future. Here are some Forward with Dementia articles from the Person with Dementia section of the website that will help:

Similar articles, on making plans and decisions specifically tailored for carers can be found in section 5 of the carer portal on the website.

The team at Forward with Dementia wish you the very best for a happy New Year in 2022. We hope you achieve the life goals most important to you.

International websites

Check out the forward with dementia websites in the United Kingdom, Poland, the Netherlands and Canada:
https://www.forwardwithdementia.org

Feedback about our resources

Last month, we sent printed resources to diagnosticians and health professionals who provide post-diagnostic support. We received this lovely feedback from a Clinical Nurse Consultant:

"Our little clinic in Pottsville, Northern NSW has signed up with Forward with Dementia. Received many wonderful resources – free of charge!

I can now provide my clients with a 'take home information' sheet which enables me to provide a written summary of their consultation - diagnosis, management plan and follow up information.

My clients love it!"

You can download resources for people living with dementia and carers, or for health professionals via the website. There is also an online order form if you'd like us to send you professionally printed copies.

A tribute to Dr Hasegawa

by Prof Henry Brodaty

Dr Kazuo Hasegawa, a leading dementia specialist, passed away in November and I wanted to share his story on Forward with Dementia as he was a pioneer in dementia research and treatment, and also helped to reduce dementia stigma in Japan.

I met Dr Hasegawa on several occasions at international conferences. He was well known for developing a scale for screening dementia, Hasegawa’s Dementia Scale, which has been widely accepted both for clinical use and epidemiological surveys in Japan.

Throughout his career as a psychiatrist, he worked with many people living with dementia and their families. He understood the difficulties they experienced and the stigma and prejudice they faced.

Hasegawa was on the government panel in 2004 that changed the Japanese word for dementia from ‘chiho’ which carried negative connotations to ‘ninchi-sho’, meaning cognitive disorder.

In 2017, Hasegawa himself was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 88. He was very open about his diagnosis, and even announced it at a conference we both attended. This was an important step which helped to further reduce stigma and demonstrated that even medical specialist can get dementia.

A recent article in the Japan News included some of Hasegawa’s inspirational statements after he was diagnosed. Hasegawa wanted to help others understand what it was like to have dementia, so I have shared some select quotes below:

"Even though we have dementia, we don’t suddenly become a different person. The world where I live continues without a break before and after having dementia.”

"I don’t want people to think that once they have dementia, it’s over for them.”

"I don’t want the people around those who have dementia to abandon them as a person who is no longer capable of understanding anything anymore.”

"I think it’s important to accept dementia caused by age as it is and live your own life as you are.”

Dr Hasegawa was an inspirational dementia specialist, improving diagnosis and treatment, and an outstanding dementia advocate, creating awareness and understanding and reducing stigma.

 We've made it easier to get involved

You are invited to provide feedback on our website and other activities as part of the Forward with Dementia program.
  • People with dementia and their supporters, carers and family can participate in a 20-minute survey by clicking on the link in the yellow button below. Everyone who returns a completed survey will go in to a draw to win one of ten $50.00 shopping vouchers.
  • Others involved in dementia diagnosis and care can provide 2-minute feedback via the link directly.
This will help us with further development and future efforts to improve post-diagnostic support for people in the 12-months following a dementia diagnosis.
Take the Evaluation Survey
Thank you in advance for your time!

Interviews for people with dementia and supporters


We would like the opportunity to discuss and understand your experiences of the Forward with Dementia program in more detail, and to understand how the project may have changed your knowledge, attitudes and behaviours related to dementia and dementia care
  • Interviews are online or by phone, they are confidential and will be conducted by an experienced university researcher. Interviews will take about 30-45 minutes.
  • Register for an interview by emailing forwardwithdementia@unsw.edu.au and our team will contact you to discuss.

Need more information?


Read About Us or email forwardwithdementia@unsw.edu.au or leave a message on Tel: (02) 9065 7307.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (see links at the bottom of this email).

Forward with Dementia is part of the COGNISANCE project. The project was awarded by the European Union Joint Program on Neurodegenerative Disorders and in Australia is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

This project has been approved by the UNSW Human Research Ethics Committee. Project number HC210566 and HC 210308.

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Copyright © 2022 Cognisance. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA)
UNSW Medicine, School of Psychiatry
Room 305, Level 3, AGSM (G27)
Gate 11, Botany Street NSW 2052 AUSTRALIA

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