Research Projects

A randomised controlled trial of reducing prolonged sitting to improve cognitive function in insufficiently active frail older adults

Prolonged sitting is a ubiquitous behaviour that places people at increased risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and dying earlier. Recently, some studies have shown that people who watch a lot television viewing are at increased risk of having cognitive decline and developing Alzheimer’s Disease.

A resource highlighting additional considerations for those managing behaviours and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people

There is a need for greater, targeted support for LGBTI people with dementia from all care contexts, requiring service providers to be better informed in the additional considerations relevant to the management of BPSD in this group.

A supervised walking program to reduce risky wandering: A feasibility study

There is currently little evidence guiding best practice for the care of people with dementia who wander in RAC. Based on what is known about dementia-related wandering, this project will explore the feasibility of taking residents with dementia who are known to wander on a 30 minute walk, 5 days per week for 3 weeks.

Assessing Alzheimer’s disease risk online: What is the relationship between risk factors and objective and subjective memory performance?

Previous research has demonstrated that many older people report memory difficulties and concern about developing dementia. Our research program seeks to develop and evaluate practical and accessible dementia risk reduction resources.

Biopsychosocial mechanisms of disinhibited behaviours in dementia and a systematic review of management approaches

Disinhibited behaviours including sexual disinhibition are less common than other behaviours and psychological symptoms associated with dementia, but when they do occur, they can cause significant distress for families, carers, other residents, as well as individuals who experience them.

Building delirium care for people with dementia into the emergency department (ED): Systematic development of the Delirium Action Response in ED (DARe-ED) intervention

This project aims to find the components of best practice preventing delirium in older people with dementia in Emergency Departments (ED). Older people with dementia are at increased risk of developing delirium, an acute confusional state, when in ED. Delirium is common (~10%) in older ED patients and is positively linked to negative patient health […]

Cognitive outcomes in the ageing cannabis user

Cannabis use is on the rise among older Australians, with national data indicating that between the years 1995 and 2013, the proportion of people aged 50–59 using cannabis in the past year rose from 1.5% to 7.3%. This increase is thought to be due to persistent use in the ageing ‘baby boomer’ generation, as well as increasing use for medicinal purposes.

Collaboration between family members and direct care staff in quality improvement of residential care services

The aim of the Project is to develop and pilot test a protocol which promotes collaboration and positive relationships between family and direct care staff for the purpose of improving the quality of residential care services. It will use amixed-method, 5 stage pre-post-evaluation design over 12 months.

Cost-effectiveness of evidence-based approaches for reducing behaviours and symptoms associated with dementia

While dementia is defined as cognitive decline leading to functional impairment, behaviours and psychological symptoms (BPSD; also referred to as ‘neuropsychiatric symptoms’, ‘changed behaviours’, ‘behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia’, ‘responsive behaviours’) which become almost universal as dementia becomes more severe, often cause more distress to people with dementia and their families and account for much of the cost.

Depression in people with dementia and their carers

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a common condition of ageing and occurs in around 6.5% of people over the age of 65. Behavioural and psychological symptoms, such has depression, are frequent and a major source of distress for suffers and those who care for them.

Development of the BPSD Guide

This project is part of the BPSD Guide – Development, Dissemination and Evaluation program. The Guide is part of the suite of resources, including apps and companion guides, which can be accessed on the Program Resource Page. Background to this project: In 2011 the Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS) funded DCRC-ABC to develop the […]

Empowered Project: Empowering people with dementia and their proxy decision makers regarding deprescribing

Learn more about how we are empowering people living with dementia, their families and supporters to be informed decision makers regarding the care and treatment (including medications) they receive.

Ensuring a smooth journey: Improving the accessibility of airports for travellers with dementia

A diagnosis of dementia should not mean an end to all life activities. Many people look forward to travelling as they grow older, either for leisure or to visit family and friends; this includes people living with dementia. However, little attention has been paid to this passenger group to date, and while improvements have been made to transport infrastructure for people with mobility impairments, little has been done to improve accessibility for those with cognitive impairments such as dementia.

Listening to preferred music to reduce risky aspects of wandering: A pilot study

Walking is an enjoyable activity that provides health benefits. However, for a person with dementia who expresses wandering behaviour, they can walk so far that they cannot eat enough to meet their level of activity or navigation problems mean that they are not able to find their way back to a safe environment or the person may enter places that are dangerous or where they may not be welcome.

Longitudinal social and biomedical risk factors for incident dementia and cognitive decline in urban and regional Aboriginal Australians

The number of older Indigenous Australians is increasing rapidly, as is their proportion within Indigenous communities, and dementia has emerged as a significant concern. Recent studies have shown that dementia is 3-5 times more common in Aboriginal communities across remote, regional and urban Australia, when compared to non-Indigenous rates. Dementia often occurs at younger ages […]

Measuring tau rate of change and propagation: implications for diagnosis, prognosis and therapy trials in AD.

Microscopic clumps of abnormal proteins in the brain in the form of amyloid plaques and tau neurofibrillary tangles are a key finding in Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid plaque imaging with PET scans has been possible for a decade and has led to earlier and more accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and made possible new clinical trials aimed at stopping or delaying dementia in people with very early Alzheimer’s disease.

Nonpharmacological approaches for depression in dementia

Depression is a common psychological symptom associated with dementia and is distressing for carers and family members as well as for affected individuals. Depression is associated with reduced quality of life and carer well-being. Pharmacological approaches are often used to treat depression despite two large negative trials of efficacy.

Physical Activity guidelines for older adults with subjective cognitive decline or mild cognitive impairment

This knowledge translation project aims to produce evidence based physical activity (PA) guidelines for older adults with Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD) or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). In several developed countries, including Australia, there are PA guidelines for the general older population.

Preparing carers of people with dementia living in the community for natural disasters: developing a guide for carers – The Carer Ready Guide (CaRed-Guide)

Australia regularly experiences a range of natural disasters, including bushfires, floods, cyclones, and earthquakes. The Australian population is encouraged to prepare for natural disaster by developing emergency response plans. Accordingly, considerable investment has been made in recent years in attempts to educate and encourage families and communities to better prepare for, and respond to natural disasters.

Resources for Home Carers

This project is developing a collection of resources to help family carers of persons living with dementia. A key focus in their development is input from people living with dementia, and their perspectives on the types of resources they would find useful. To date, topics include advice from other home carers, decisions about respite care, communicating with health professions, and sexualities.

Review of current seating practices in supporting people living with dementia in residential aged care

This project involves a systematic review of literature relating to seating for people living with advanced dementia; a review of available seating products; the development of a typology of seating and a review of current clinical practices in residential aged care facilities (RACFs). Current practice has no empirically based guidelines but anecdotally, clinical experience suggests […]

Sexualities and Dementia: Improve Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices in Aged Care via interactive live webinars

The overall aim is to conduct a knowledge translation [KT] effectiveness trial of a NEW webinar intervention for health professionals targeting expression of sexuality by people with dementia.

Special Interest Groups – Changed behaviours and psychological symptoms associated with dementia

The ‘Behaviours and Psychological Symptoms associated with Dementia (BPSD*)’ special interest group started in early 2019 and has over 100 members from diverse backgrounds including people living with dementia, family members, care providers, government workers, health professionals and researchers. In 2019 they held their first roundtable discussion at the Australian Dementia Forum in Hobart and met for […]

Supporting better medicines use among people living with dementia using national consensus Support – MEDe Support

People living with dementia often live with other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or osteoporosis. They may experience symptoms of depression or pain. However, people living with dementia are rarely included in medication trials as they often cannot give informed consent.

The views and concerns of people living dementia, families/care partners and healthcare workers

Changed behaviours and psychological symptoms associated with cognitive decline are estimated to affect up to 90-percent of people living with dementia, strongly correlate with functional and cognitive impairment and contribute to approximately 30-percent of overall dementia costs.

Understanding how the neighbourhood environment influences brain and cognitive health in older adults

With an increasing ageing population, finding ways to maintain cognitive health and prevent or delay dementia is an undisputed national public health priority. Dementia is the leading cause of disability burden and the second leading cause of overall burden of disease for Australians aged 65+.

What is "A Good Day Out"? Working towards optimal day centre respite care and ways to measure it.

A little studied care setting for people with dementia is day respite. In Australia, day respite services feature as government-funded care-package choices for people with dementia living in the community. However, they are largely unregulated; no dementia-relevant benchmarks exist for staff skills, training, activities, or quality of care and physical environment, leaving consumers to locate, assess and compare services themselves.

Behaviours & Psychological Symptoms associated with Dementia (BPSD)

The main aims of the project are to develop and implement effective strategies that improve care, prevent or reduce BPSD and improve quality of life for people living with dementia.

Capacity Building for Care Research (CBCR) Program

The CBCR Program aims to develop the research capacity of Australian dementia care researchers in nursing and allied health disciplines.

The International Research Network on Dementia Prevention (IRNDP)

The IRNDP has been established to increase dementia risk reduction messaging worldwide, and develop targeted research to answer questions about the detailed impact of known and emerging risk factors in dementia.