Cartoon series supports time-pressed carers

An animated series created by the University of Sydney and Alzheimer’s Australia NSW uses cartoons to deliver a serious message about how to care for loved ones with dementia.

Cartoons for carers
Cartoon series offers practical strategies for carers

An animated series created by the University of Sydney and Alzheimer’s Australia NSW uses cartoons to deliver a serious message about how to care for loved ones with dementia.

The cartoons for carers, called ‘CareToons’, are designed to help carers manage issues related to behavioural change, which is estimated to affect between 60 and 90 per cent of people with dementia living at home.

Associate Professor Lee-Fay Low from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Health Sciences said the program gives family carers online access to practical strategies that can help in stressful situations.

“Caring for a loved one with dementia can be immensely challenging and dealing with changes in behaviour is one of the biggest sources of stress for carers,” Associate Professor Low said.

“Sometimes even a small habit like asking the same question over and over, or continually losing things can cause a great deal of angst if people don’t understand why it’s happening or have strategies to handle it.

Cartoons3
CareToons produced by the University of Sydney and Alzheimer’s Australia NSW

“The CareToons are a fun way of giving carers access to proven strategies in their own home so they don’t have to find someone to look after their loved one or travel to attend a group for advice,” she said.

The cartoons cover a range of behavioural changes common to people with dementia including not sleeping at night, wanting to go home when they are already home, suspecting that others are stealing from them, and not wanting to socialise.

At the request of carers the cartoons are silent so they can be watched quietly.

Imelda Gilmore who cares for her husband, Graham, said the resources helped her to feel more in control in stressful situations.

“With CareToons, I can go to the website, quickly spot the description of the problem I need help with and within two minutes I can see one or more solutions to my problem depicted in an easy to follow cartoon.

“Best of all, I can complete a check sheet to keep for next time and if I still need more help, I’m given details of who to call.

John Watkins, CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, said the CareToons are an innovative solution for time-pressed carers.

“The strength of these resources is that they are based on real scenarios, identified by people currently caring for someone with dementia.”

The researcher team from the University of Sydney will compare the effectiveness of the cartoon resources to traditional fact sheets. For more information on the study or to register your interest visit: www.caretoons.com.au

To subscribe to CCR please visit http://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/subscribe-to-ccr/

Tags: carers, cartoons, dementia, eduction-resource, news-ccrn-1,

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