Aged Care Science and Technology Sponsored Story

Step into the world of dementia using technology


For more than a decade, Dementia Australia has used high-tech tools to demonstrate what the world is like for someone living with dementia.

While these tools are innovative, they are simple to use. They are also making a profound and lasting difference in aged care dementia training.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe AM said through harnessing technology and dreaming big, we are improving the lives of people living with dementia.

In what McCabe calls “our audacious tech journey”, Dementia Australia has been winning local and international awards for its innovative education offerings.

The idea of stepping into the world of a person living with dementia has been at the heart of Dementia Australia’s vision to transform dementia understanding and care. It’s led to Dementia Australia developing applications that use cutting-edge tools – from gaming technologies and virtual reality to artificial intelligence.

These education programs are immersive and engaging. They enable organisations to improve their quality of care through the professional development of staff.

While it all started back in 2011, tech has kept rolling out, with the most recent offering being the free BrainTrack app, launched in October 2022. Within its first nine months of release, it has been downloaded more than 50,000 times. BrainTrack makes it easy, fun and convenient to privately monitor your own brain health over time, through interactive elements, including games.

Users can generate reports that can be shared with their doctor, facilitating conversations and – where needed – diagnosis. Via the app, users can also connect with the National Dementia Helpline for further support. 

Some of the award-winning workshops and technologies that are available to organisations and individuals are highlighted below.

Have a talk with Ted

Pull up a chair. Settle yourself down on a computer screen and get ready for Dementia Australia’s trailblazing workshop, Talk with Ted.

At a Talk with Ted group workshop or in an individual setting, a care worker will sit at a computer screen facing ‘Ted’. Ted is sitting on his bed, wearing his wire-rimmed glasses and striped pyjamas. He looks realistic – and he sounds realistic too. But Ted is an avatar, powered by artificial intelligence. He is designed to give aged care workers a realistic experience of communicating with a person living with dementia.

What helps make it so true-to-life is that Ted is programmed with symptoms commonly associated with dementia. Aged care workers can build their confidence through the Talk with Ted program, by improving their communication skills in a safe setting. Talk with Ted was launched in 2021.

Find out more about Talk with Ted here.

Got a question? Ask Annie

‘Annie’ is the calm, knowledgeable, experienced colleague who every care worker wishes they had at their side when navigating daily challenges.

Through the Ask Annie smartphone app launched in 2021, aged care workers can access the character of Annie at any time, wherever they are.

Ask Annie comes with a library of five-minute ‘micro lessons’ that help build understanding and strengthen care practice. They’re small lessons with a big impact.

Annie guides participants through scenarios they could face every day: a person who may be distracted or seem uninterested in eating, or one who may resist having a shower. The app-based lessons are easy to fit into a busy day, and the immersive style of micro-learning makes them memorable and more likely to lead to changes in care practice. For people living with dementia, that means consistently higher care standards and a better quality of life.

Find out more about Ask Annie here.

Dementia through the eyes of EDIE

Using virtual reality goggles, EDIE (Educational Dementia Immersive Experience) puts users in the shoes of someone living with dementia.

Enabling EDIE is an immersive workshop that offers participants the opportunity to have sensory and visual experiences related to dementia, enabling them to see the world through the eyes of ‘Edie’, a character with dementia who resides at home with his wife. The program was first launched in Australia in 2017 and has since expanded to international locations, including Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore and New Zealand.

EDIE aims to build empathy, helping family members understand the world of their relative and assists professional carers in better care planning and delivery.

Find out more about EDIE here.

Read all about it

To find out more about the history and full range of professional development Dementia Australia offers through its innovative training programs, download Dementia Australia’s ‘Cutting Edge Technology Applications; Improving the experience of dementia for everyone’.

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Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.


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