Body language and dementia

Dementia Australia has launched the latest module in the Ask Annie app to enhance healthcare workers’ knowledge of how body language can impact a person living with dementia.

The new module, according to Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe, will help healthcare workers ensure positive interactions and trust development with those living with dementia.

The free body language module adds new content to the Ask Annie app, which provides healthcare workers with interactive, self-paced teaching modules, to refresh, strengthen and refine their skills.

“Good communication in dementia care is critical,” says Ms McCabe.

“Being aware of our body language, how it might be interpreted and ensuring it is as positive as possible can help people living with dementia feel at ease, build trust and connect.”

Body language is physical behaviour, which is used to communicate a person’s thoughts and intentions.

“Facial expressions, body posture and even the personal space you provide can make all the difference to the experience of a person living with dementia during interactions in everyday settings – whether it be when eating a meal, or supporting them to have a shower,” says Ms McCabe.

“We’re very pleased to offer this as gifted content, in celebration of our aged care workforce.”

Dementia Advocate Bobby Redman, Chair of Dementia Australia Advisory Committee lives with dementia and says the app will be very useful in helping carers to be aware of their body language, which is so important, especially as language skills reduce.

“It is vital to remember that our senses are impacted by dementia – vision, hearing and touch all change, and we may experience things in a very different way,” says Mr Redman.

“Please help us to cope with these changes by using clear body language to supplement what you are saying – actions speak louder than words.”

The Ask Annie app content continues to grow and the new body language module joins another four gifted modules already available.

Dementia Australia is focused on adding to the educational content in Ask Annie to ensure care workers have access to new information and the opportunity to continue to expand their knowledge.

Ask Annie can be downloaded for free individually via the Google Play Store or Apple App Store with free access to five modules.

The full application with access to all modules is $60 per person per year, with multi-license packages available for organisations.

For information on purchasing packages please email cdl@dementia.org.au.

Ask Annie was developed by Dementia Australia with Deakin University’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2), and funded by a Gandel Foundation multi-year Major grant.

For more information, please visit dementialearning.org.au/askannie.

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