Training to equip emergency crews for dementia calls


A new initiative aims to enhance dementia skills across Australia’s frontline emergency services – equipping them to safely assist the 400,000+ older people living with the condition.

The program delivers specialised hourly training through online modules exploring dementia’s symptoms, brain impacts and communication techniques. Interactive content features insights from veteran dementia professionals on real-world response practices.

Open to police, fire, paramedic and healthcare workers nationwide, the timely course intends to help responders identify individuals with dementia and interact effectively to ease distress. With dementia cases in Australia expected to double by 2058, experts call improved awareness and emergency preparedness increasingly vital.

Dementia Training Australia director Isabelle Meyer emphasised the unique training fills a critical gap, leaving first responders underprepared for dementia crises without a proper understanding of its neurological effects.

“By completing the First Responders course, they will gain a deeper understanding of how dementia affects the brain and behaviour of those living with it, providing them with the practical tools needed to identify someone who may be impacted by dementia, communicate effectively and prevent distress and escalation,” she added.

Police, ambulance and health services workers from different organisations have already signed up. Advocates expect the free course to set responders up for more empathetic, sensitive handling of dementia cases.

Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells said that people living with dementia deserve to be treated with empathy and respect. “This free training is a game changer for first responders who have a new opportunity to increase their understanding of dementia.”

“With more than 400,000 people living with dementia in Australia, a number expected to double by 2058, the demand for dementia awareness among emergency personnel has never been greater,” she added.

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