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A new smartphone app designed to support people living with dementia has been developed by three rural Victorian organisations.

The SENDER app helps carers of rural people living with dementia to locate services relevant to their care. It also helps connect with other rural carers and their service providers to ensure a network of support.

The SENDER app concept was launched during Dementia Awareness Month, corresponding with a study to develop its effectiveness and uncover possible improvements.

SENDER is an abbreviation for Service Navigation for Dementia in Rural Communities. Its development was a project partnership between Heathcote Health, Rural Northwest Health and La Trobe University.

Associate Professor Irene Blackberry, Director of John Richards Initiative in Rural Ageing and Aged Care, said it was important for people to use the app.

“We need the community’s help to test SENDER,” Professor Blackberry said.

“We need feedback so that we can make sure SENDER is useful, relevant and easy to use.”

Professor Blackberry said she was looking for carers and service providers of people living with dementia to download and use SENDER for a two or three month trial.

“The app is free to download and use and participants in the study have the chance to be influential in what we expect to be an important tool for those needing memory support,” she said.

“We will collect feedback about SENDER through interviews, phone calls and a focus group meeting.”

SENDER is being supported by Telstra, through their donation of mobile handsets for use by study participants, as part of their Digital Inclusion Program.

RNH CEO Catherine Morley said the SENDER app project developed from feedback from community members.

“The project pioneered from our region and La Trobe University has funded and developed it,” Ms Morley said.

HH CEO Dan Douglass said “We are pleased to be involved in the piloting of the SENDER app in our community and the opportunity to improve support for local people living with dementia and their carers.”

“The app will make a big difference to those who live with dementia every day and to those who care for them.”

To find out more about the app or to express an interest in participating in the study, contact Dr Clare Wilding, Research Officer for John Richards Initiative, at La Trobe University, phone 0428 557584 or email: c.wilding@latrobe.edu.au

 

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