Free trial for dementia support program

March 29, 2018 by Danielle Oppermann
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Help at Home by Sydney’s Montefiore has five places available free of charge in a trial of COPE (Care of People with Dementia in their Environments), a program designed to support and empower people with dementia and their carers.

Photo: Daniel Linnet

Offered in conjunction with University of Sydney and Flinders University, this practical program is delivered by Montefiore occupational therapists and nurses. It includes a comprehensive assessment, support for carer wellbeing such as stress management techniques, and tailored activities and strategies to promote independence and overcome challenges.

Montefiore’s home care service, Help at Home, is offering people living at home with dementia in Sydney access to a trial support program, with the first five places available free of charge.

Montefiore is among the first NSW aged care providers to take part in a new program that focuses on improving the wellbeing of people living with dementia at home, by giving them and their carers solutions to daily challenges. The COPE (Care of People with Dementia in their Environments) program – part of a new University of Sydney and Flinders University research project – aims to support people to remain at home and maintain their independence longer.

Similar programs overseas following the ‘dyadic intervention’ model (focusing on both carer and client) have been shown to be effective in delaying functional decline. “Carers who received the program in the US reported improvement in general well-being and increased confidence in their ability to support their family member with dementia at home,” explains Professor Lindy Clemson, co-lead investigator for COPE and Professor of Occupational Therapy and Ageing at the University of Sydney. This Australian rollout is part of the NHMRC Partnership Centre for Dealing with Cognitive and Related Functional Decline in Older People.

People living in the community with dementia and their carers are encouraged to sign up for COPE through Montefiore, which has 5 places available free of charge during the trial period. The program is conducted over up to six sessions with COPE-trained occupational therapists, including Pallavi Shaik, who explains: “We customise the program for each individual, with elements including adjusting the home environment, altering communication styles, and structuring routines and meaningful activities.”

How much the person living with dementia is involved will depend on the individual, but the carer participates in each session and will master strategies to address key concerns – managing behaviour, decreasing dependence in everyday activities or engaging the person with dementia in leisure activities. “They’ll also learn to generalise these strategies to new challenges that may arise,” says Pallavi, “so the carer feels confident they can continue to support the person with dementia to live at home into the future.”

“We customise the program with elements including adjusting the home environment, altering communication, and structuring routines and meaningful activities,” Pallavi adds.

Says Help at Home by Montefiore General Manager, Karen Jordan: “We’re pleased to be offering our clients the opportunity to take part in this valuable program. Once the study is complete, we plan to continue to feature COPE as part of the suite of allied health services that sets Help@Home apart as a care provider of choice.”

Montefiore is offering 5 places in its COPE program free of charge as part of the trial phase. If you think you or the person you care for would benefit, please contact Montefiore Occupational Therapist Belle Sarkis, phone: 0412 573 762 or email:


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