The University ‘s Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre has received close to $4 million dollars to support a major expansion of its programs to build dementia literacy, and to undertake evaluations and clinical trials to examine their impact in the community.
The new funding, provided by the Wicking Trust, will provide major support for the Centre’s work in dementia for the next five years.
The Wicking Trust, administered by Equity Trustees, was founded by John and Janet Wicking to improve wellness and quality of life of older people and people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Over the past nine years the Wicking Centre has delivered dementia education to over 80,000 people in Australia and internationally.
Wicking Centre Co-Director Professor James Vickers welcomed the funding boost which he said would provide a valuable opportunity to build on the national and global success of the Wicking Centre’s educational programs in dementia, which aim to reach 400,000 more people in Australia and over a million more globally, over the next five years.
Professor Vickers said the expansion of the programs, including the Understanding Dementia and Preventing Dementia MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), would have a substantial impact on those living and working with dementia.
“This bold program over five years will revolutionise dementia knowledge and literacy for people living with dementia and their carers, as well as for the health care workforce and wider community,” he said.
“The Understanding Dementia and Preventing Dementia MOOCs are amongst the most successful online short courses internationally, as rated by users, and is the leading MOOC in health and medicine globally.”
Professor Vickers said the funding would support a substantial research program, which will include the assessment of the knowledge of dementia in many tens of thousands of people, as well as focused trials to determine how the MOOCs improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their carers.
Other research would examine new approaches to reduce individual risk of dementia through targeted education.
“The large scale research program will accurately determine the care needs and concerns of different groups of people, from people with dementia and their carers to aged care workers and other health care professionals,” he said.
“Providing evidence-based approaches to managing risk to thousands of people may also potentially reduce the future incidence of dementia in the community.”