ACH Group in South Australia is leading a project where consumers, carers and providers jointly develop a new model of respite care for people with younger onset dementia and their families.

Senior project officer Kelly Quinlan said limited choice and access to age-appropriate services was a significant gap in the delivery of respite care to this cohort.

Through the Tailor Made project, consumers, family members and service providers were jointly developing a new respite model and client resource kit for accessing services, which will be trialled and evaluated by Flinders University later this year.

The findings will be shared nationally and will help shape good practice in the sector, she said.

Interviews already conducted with over 60 stakeholders identified the need for respite services that were easy to navigate, matched the needs and lifestyle of younger people with dementia and supported individuals to maintain or develop new skills.

Ms Quinlan said the Tailor Made project would help to challenge traditional models of how respite was delivered by the service sector.

“We want to challenge the way traditional supports can be provided so that people can remain physically active, mentally stimulated and socially connected in ways that are tailored individually to a person’s interests and abilities,” Ms Quinlan told the HammondCare International Dementia Conference this month.

She said a process of co-design, where service users actively participated in the design and evaluation of the model, had been critical to the project, which was funded by an Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grant.

Respite programs that encourage participation in sport, photography, computing and continuing education are some of the services that ACH has developed as part of the pilot.

AUDIO: Kelly Quinlan spoke to Community Care Review editor Linda Belardi about the goals of the Tailor Made project and the key features of a responsive service for this cohort.

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