A high-tech regional network is being rolled out to support carers of people with dementia in the electorate of Flinders, thanks to a $1.7 million investment from the Liberal National Government.
Federal Member for Flinders, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, said local carers were being asked to join the Virtual Dementia Friendly Rural Communities (Verily Connect) project, which uses a newly developed smartphone app, website and videoconferencing to help care for carers.
“It’s an online meeting place that is the exciting result of harnessing technology to help humanity,” Minister Hunt said.
“It promises to reduce the challenges of distance and isolation, linking carers and helping them continue delivering critical support to some of our most vulnerable and treasured citizens.
“Our local community has already seen the benefit of this program, with 25 participants in Koo Wee Rup, including carers of people with dementia, volunteers and service providers taking part in the trial phase of the program.
“Complementing the online technology, personal help will also be provided by local volunteers trained in the Verily Connect system.”
Minister Hunt said that with over 425,000 Australians living with dementia, the work of carers was critical, especially in regional areas.
“Verily Connect is about supporting the many seniors who rightly want to age in our local communities,” Minister Hunt Said.
“Keeping families and communities together is critical for our country towns, so I t is vital to ensure regional centres provide as much support and as many services as possible to support our senior residents.”
Verily Connect has been developed by La Trobe University’s John Richard Centre and, depending on its success, could have national applications.
The commitment to Verily Connect is part of the Liberal National Government’s more than $200 million investment in research to manage, prevent and find cures for dementia, with the five-year Boosting DementiaResearch initiative launched in 2015.
To participate in the Verily Connect project go to https://verilyconnect.org.au/