Rust Removers taking the rust off dementia

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More than 410,000 Australians live with dementia and one private hospital in Geelong developed a program to help patients and carers live better with the condition.

The Rust Removers, developed by the Outpatient Rehabilitation Department at Geelong Private Hospital, provides strategies and information, for both the person living with dementia and their carer, to maximise their independence.

The half-day program, run twice a week over seven consecutive weeks covers memory strategies and brain training to equipping family and carers with the necessary support and knowledge.

Occupational therapist, Helen Williams helped set up the Rust Removers program and said the name aims to capture people’s attention.

“The term ‘Rust Removers’ demonstrates the idea that the brain builds up rust over time, and this program attempts to rub some of the rust away,” Ms Williams said.

Patients are referred to the program by their physician following an inpatient hospital admission or from their general practitioner.

“Patients are given an initial assessment by the out-patients staff to ensure they are correctly placed in either a group or individual program, we are flexible in terms of care and the services we can provide our patients based on their individual needs,” said Ms Williams.

Geelong Private Hospital Outpatients Manager, Katy Cupples said participants, stay in touch long after the program has finished.

“There is something very special about the group dynamic in Rust Removers, not only are there immense benefits for the patients, it becomes a fantastic networking opportunity for their families and carers,” said Ms Cupples.

September is Dementia Awareness Month.

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