Congratulations to Candy Cheung, from the Frontier lab, for being awarded a Dementia Australia project grant (March 2022 – March 2024) to look at positive behaviour support education program for family carers of people with dementia.

Changed behaviours (e.g., aggression, socially-inappropriate behaviours) commonly occur in younger-onset dementia which typically affects people below the age of 65 years. These changed behaviours can have significant negative impacts on the person with dementia and their families such as reduced quality of life and increased stress for family carers. Medication is currently the most common intervention, though can be ineffective and often causes side effects. Although behaviour support interventions, such as Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) are most effective, there is a serious lack of options for these in Australia. Through five weekly education sessions, questionnaires and interviews, we will examine how acceptable and useful a family-directed PBS education program is in equipping family carers with more effective behaviour support. Our project will equip carers with the relevant skills to manage changed behaviours on a day-to-day basis, and thus reduce the negative impacts of changed behaviours. We will also examine the effectiveness of online delivery and develop facilitator guidelines to increase our ability to reach families supporting a person with dementia across Australia, particularly in regions with limited services. Our findings will improve dementia care in the community and the services available for families supporting a person with dementia with changed behaviours.