As a direct result of studying this degree, I have a really deep understanding of the experience of dementia, and it’s given me the skills to support people to live well with dementia.
As I started the best thing was every single topic that we covered, I could take to work and implement things straight away, and make change…… I could see immediate change in my workplace.
Once I sat through the MOOC I could see the merit of understanding the neuroscience and the behavioural and caring aspects it was a natural follow on to take on the BDC [Diploma].
My goal is to provide a tangible difference in quality care for dementia. I’ve loved the course because it’s so specific, just focusing on the one field.. you build a bigger picture of dementia … from a personal perspective and the care.… and social impact.
It [the course] is set out very well and very easy to follow… and the encouragement you get from all areas, student services, lecturers etc, is really good and keeps you on track.
Feedback from our Masters Program
Thank you for all the support during this unit, the learning and depth of knowledge imparted has been an incredibly rewarding experience and I feel so inspired and prepared to go forth and speak out with evidence and compassion.
I have the privilege of down time during my working day to get on my phone and access the content. I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to complete a discussion board post relevant to the learnt content and feel by participating in this optional activity that it cements my learning. This unit is so relevant to me as a home care worker/dementia carer.
Having completed Module 1, I am completely happy with the format, presentation of information, assessment, and the collaborate session. I really like the shorter video teaching sessions, and find them helpful for working through units of information, without becoming bogged down. I really enjoyed our collaborate session on Tuesday evening, and appreciate the extra time you gave, so that we could give voice to our queries.
Doing [the MOOC] in your own time and at your own pace was fantastic, it gave you the opportunity to really think about it step by step. By doing it online it was really good … I could fit it into my daily life in my timeframe.
Understanding Dementia MOOC testimonials
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for designing such a wonderful course. It not just enhances the knowledge regarding dementia but also, emotionally gets you so involved in it. I am enjoying this course to the fullest and hope to make the best use of it in my area of work. Thank you once again for all your efforts in designing this course.
Thank you so much for this course. I'm enjoying learning about dementia this way, the course content is brilliant and I'm so very impressed with the way the course has been put together. I love the conversations between professionals in particular, and am grateful for their involvement and sharing of their expertise with me. It is all wonderfully clear, with a good level of the scientific/medical information, but without being beyond those like me who have absolutely no medical background. And it is not at all condescending. A special thanks to Prof. Fran McInerney. She would have to be one of the best educators I have ever encountered.
I have really loved this course, full of useful, valuable and transferable information no matter what stage of life you are at. I particularly liked how simple it was to work through, the no-pressure quizzes, and the additional resources, but most of all the videos from people experiencing dementia. These really touched me and have helped me better understand not just people with dementia, but people in general.
I have done many MOOCs in many different topics but this one is absolutely the very best in every aspect – the content, the way it is presented, the presenters, the variety, the examples. I would very much like to deeply thank the whole MOOC team for their total dedication and the high quality sharing of their professional knowledge, skills and research with so many people. I have learned so much and I have been telling all my friends and colleagues about this MOOC as I believe everyone should do it as we all need more information and skills in this area.
Preventing Dementia MOOC testimonials
Certainly helpful as I am in mid-life and I can start making changes now knowing they will be of benefit to my health in the future. Very interesting and informative. Will also help in my aged care job.
Since completing both the Understanding Dementia and the Preventing Dementia MOOCS, I am now training to become an accredited Montessori for Dementia and Ageing practitioner, which I first learnt about during the ‘Understanding‘ MOOC. Both MOOCS are brilliant in so many different ways!
Thank you to the team at the Wicking Centre whose talent and knowledge went into "Preventing Dementia". This has been informative, interesting and beneficial, not only for me but for so many. The University of Tasmania has given us a wonderful resource that will, hopefully, enrich our lives and the lives of the people we know who want to age well and in the best health of both body and brain.
Have thoroughly enjoyed the stimulating lectures and info provided during this MOOC and am very motivated to do more learning in this field. Thank you to all the specialist researchers and Uni experts for expanding my knowledge and inspiring me to plan further study online. Am motivated both personally and professionally to put this added learning about Dementia to good use by enhancing preventative practices not only in my own life, but also will be influencing the lives of my family and friends. Importantly too, I feel more confident to assist and support my patients and their family members, affected by dementia, whom I interact with as a Registered Nurse.
Handfuls of usefulness
In Room 17 of the secure dementia unit, a plump grey-haired woman stood next to the bed clutching two small teddies. Upon seeing me, her face broke into a broad smile. ‘Hullo, I was just going to see if you were going to come and … um do the thing that the others were going to do…’.
Her voice trailed away. I squeezed her to me and she returned my hug with enthusiasm. My mother was never one for physical displays of affection before she developed Alzheimer’s.
Over morning tea in the guest room she chattered on, her words an incoherent jumble. Occasionally she came up with a gem. ‘I love them!’ she exclaimed once, referring to something known only to herself. ‘They’re such handfuls of usefulness.’
I couldn’t help but smile at this apt phrase for things small and useful, and filed it away in my memory. Another time she described something as being ‘enormously tiny.’ I burst out laughing, immediately conjuring up an image of a miniature elephant.
When it was time for me to leave, Mum followed me and tried to slip out the front door behind me. ‘Mum, you have to stay here,’ I said gently. She looked at me blankly. The nurse rushed over and steered her away.
I wanted to look back, to make sure she was all right. But I couldn’t. I was afraid of being overwhelmed by grief, had to hold it tightly inside me. It was another four years before she died and I could let go.
I wish I had the knowledge then that I’ve gained from the MOOC. I would have had a greater understanding of my mother’s world and the changes that were going on in her body and mind. And I like to think I’d have been more patient and compassionate.
In some way, doing this course has been my tribute to her. Everything l’ve learned, from the science of the brain to methods of communication and activity planning, could be described as many handfuls of usefulness.
Robin, UD MOOC participant
My reflections on the Diploma of Dementia Care
My name is Ginny Keed and when I retired several years ago, I commenced volunteering at a dementia day care centre in my neighbourhood. Through the centre I was given the opportunity to participate in the dementia MOOCs and then progressed to enrolling in the Bachelor of Dementia Care. My studies in the course have enabled me to understand the presentation of dementia and its consequences for the person with dementia, their family and carers and to enable me to better care for them. The Bachelor of Dementia has opened up a whole new world for me as previously, like so many people, I had little knowledge of dementia and its ramifications.
I really enjoyed the online study of the course and being able to work at my own pace. The course encompassed so many areas of dementia from anatomy and physiology to the understanding and care of all aspects of dementia and the services that are available. Each semester was so varied and enjoyable with assignments, both individually and in groups, which enable us to interact with our peers and to share ideas and learning. The lecturers were all extremely supportive, each offering their own personal expertise and always being available to answer questions and give advice. The lectures by the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre were very informative, offering a great insight into dementia and the research that is being carried out.
I am exiting the course at the Diploma level and feel that I am now so much better equipped to care for our clients at the day care centre. I find I can identify the characteristic of their dementias and tailor their day to make it an enjoyable experience. I am also able to assist their family and carers to better understand the condition and make suggestions that will enhance the lives of all concerned. What began as a way to volunteer in my retirement has resulted in several years of extremely enjoyable and informative study. I am now so aware of the need for understanding, compassion, and the alleviation of stigma in dementia and hopefully I will be able to enrich the lives of the people in my care.
Ginny, Diploma of Dementia Care graduate, August 2020
Never too late to learn something new
About 2 years ago my husband and I came to live at an aged care facility near to where we formerly lived, because of our ill health and the need for extra care. We have been blessed to be here to obtain the care that we needed. Sadly my husband of 70 years marriage passed away a few months ago following a serious illness. When we first came here, we were quite amazed to encounter many people who were suffering from dementia, something that we have never experienced before in all of our long lives. They are in different stages of dementia and it was hard to understand just why they were behaving as they were.
After my husband passed away, I decided it would be good for me to keep my mind busy, and discovered the two courses available with the University of Tasmania. So I enrolled and was thrilled to participate firstly in the course Preventing Dementia which helped me so much to understand the basic reasons for dementia to happen and the way it could be helped to be preventable. I was so glad to study the way nerve cells work and the impact they have on brain function. This was great and I was so happy when I realised I had passed this course well and obtained the certificate.
So I continued on to do [another] course in Understanding Dementia, which has helped me in regard to the folk here who have the problem with dementia. It was certainly very interesting to discover things about dementia patients whose condition could be improved because of understanding their needs. To know there are .... stages they go through and how they can be assured in each stage that they were loved and being cared for was so valuable to me as I endeavour to live with and understand fellow residents with dementia. There are so many aspects and it is so important for these folk to have the correct diagnosis and to continue seeing their medical team to find out how they were doing and the correct treatment they could be given to assist them in every way. I was thrilled to obtain a good pass in this course too. I hope that I will be able to help and understand the many folk that I have contact with every day. Thank you for allowing me to participate in these courses.
Elsie, UD and PD MOOC participant 2019/2020
Understanding Dementia MOOC – a personal experience
Kate found out around 6 months ago that a family member in the UK had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and she was desperate to find out as much as she could about what the diagnosis meant to her and her family.
After trawling the internet and realising there were just too many sources of information and opinions for her to sort through, she remembered the Wicking Dementia Centre and the research they had been doing over the years, and quickly signed up for the free, online, Understanding Dementia MOOC.
It was perfect for her situation, a working mother, with not much time on her hands, with an urgent motivation to find out the facts on dementia. She loves the fact that she can do this online and at her own pace. Dropping in and out when she has time to herself, and not getting left behind because she is busy. The 10 minute videos are like gold to her, as she can easily digest a summary of the information she is learning about.
It’s been a pleasure to study and just knowing the facts around dementia means that she can channel information through to other family members and start to understand what the future will look like as they charter new territory together.
“I found it was really hard in the early stages of the diagnosis, it was really confronting, and this course has helped to know we are not the only ones, and what is happening to our family is common with everyone touched by dementia.”
Kate, UD MOOC participant
Dementia education – the practical outcomes
I first heard about the University of Tasmania’s MOOC on Understanding Dementia, around three years ago. My role as an aged care nurse had changed to caring and meeting the needs of residents living with dementia and I felt very underprepared. The online course gave me greater insight into how the person living with dementia viewed his or her world. I then completed the MOOC on Preventing Dementia. Around this time my career pathway transitioned into the role of clinical nurse educator for my organisation while still doing active nursing. The latter role has now ceased, and I am an educator, part-time, for two care homes.
I was very affected by the content of the MOOCs and created small learning booklets on dementia to assist my care team to understand why so-called behaviours occur and how we could best meet unmet needs. I desired to learn more about dementia so embarked on a learning journey through the Bachelor of Dementia Care. Again, I have learned so much from this course that the new knowledge now informs my training sessions. Dementia is so much a part of caring in residential homes and training is a vital component in preparing carers and nurses to deliver person-centred dementia care.
My organisation is transitioning into incorporating dementia care as an active part of caregiving with training online modules now produced. I was privileged to be involved in that process, sharing my new knowledge to practical outcomes. I have given dementia care workshops, created toolboxes, and made dementia care a part of the induction process into my care homes. We have also introduced an informal meeting group for the family members of the residents living with dementia. We recognised the deep sense of grief and loss from some family members as they struggle to remain connected to their loved one. The name of our group has “Connection” in it. This has been very successful in helping people understand the effects of dementia, how it affects the brain and therefore communication, and promoting the reality that the person is still present despite the impaired ability to communicate with words.
On a final note I have promoted the MOOCs every time they are available and am currently promoting the Diploma of Dementia Care. I am pleased to report that several of the carers have completed the MOOCs and a nurse is about to embark on the Diploma course. I would like to thank the University of Tasmania for making dementia care a prominent part of caregiving. I have many experiences where my new knowledge made me a better nurse, more patient, caring, listening and assisting the resident to feel safe in my company.
Margaret, UD and PD MOOC participant and Bachelor of Dementia Care student