National Workshop Programme, News and Updates with Steph – 7 April 2016


Hi Everyone

I hope you enjoyed a safe and relaxing Easter weekend!

I am looking forward to our Dementia Specific Workshop on the benefits of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy for people with early stage and mild dementia coming up in a few days’ time on Wednesday the 6th of April. Being held at the Northern Sydney Education & Conference Centre in the grounds of Macquarie Hospital, (where DTA’s office is too), numbers are almost full so if you are interested in attending please contact the office or email  (you can also book directly on line through our DTA membership portal- check out the workshop flyers under Events on the home page).

Also coming up in April is our Adelaide Workshop on the 8th to be held at the Comfort Inn on Adelphi Terrace, Glenelg North.  Take advantage of a day by the seaside with networking and professional development opportunities including presentations by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency discussing Standard 3 Leisure and Health and ready to answer your Accreditation questions; the Ikon Institute demonstrating a practical Art therapy session; ARAS (Aged Rights Advocacy Service) looking at Elder abuse; the Independent Living Centre telling us about the newest inventions to maintain independence; a presentation from the Dementia Learning and Development Unit; and an educator from Parkinson’s South Australia looking at the enablement, access to leisure and the symptoms of the disease.

Our Orange NSW Workshop on the 13th of May and the Shepparton Vic Workshop on the 3rd of June are also advertised on line -book early to avoid disappointment.

Meanwhile catch up below with a write up and photos on our two recent workshops in Melbourne and Brisbane. I enjoyed attending my first Melbourne Workshop this year and meeting some of our long standing DTA member- see my experience below. While our Brisbane Workshop held on the 18th of March was facilitated by Queensland DTA board member Glenda Kubler who has also kindly done the newsletter piece below. What is that saying “ask a busy person to do something and it will be done”….Thanks Glenda- you are tireless- many, many thanks.  Enjoy!

Melbourne Workshop

DTA’s Melbourne Workshop on the 26th of February was held in Little Collins Street at the new Skills Training Australia campus. With 45 attendees the air conditioner struggled as temperatures outside soared.

With our usual facilitator Chris Grady in attendance, the day was fun and informative and I was pleased I could be there to take on the facilitator role allowing Chris to relax and enjoy the learning although you always need some “helpers on the day” and Chris ended up presenting on his successful Cultural diversity program too.


Robyn Mulder from the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, as our first presenter on the day set the tone of information, interaction and question time.

Long time DTA member and workshop supporter Lauretta Kaldor made an amazing contribution to our approach to reminiscing and had us break into smaller groups to brainstorm on the reminiscent activities that could be done for specific target groups- people in Independent Living, older people with mixed abilities, men’s groups and those living with early to mid-stage dementia.

Dr Loretta Quinn in her usual bright and entertaining approach took us through her insights in using music for people with dementia. The music our parents were playing when we were children can have the most profound effect on people with dementia as these early memories remain. She had us all singing and guessing tunes that crossed over many cultural divides. Singing sure does bring on those feel good endorphins!

One of the highlights of the day was the presentation by Build VR on the growing applications and cheaper availability of Virtual Reality and how they have adopted the technology to optimise its use for older people. Attendees got to try out this technology in the breaks.

Chris and I let everyone know about our newly announced Cruise workshop happening next year as we played the Love boat theme and encouraged everyone to save the date.

Chris then presented on his successful Jewish Cultural program after lunch with some great photos and inspiration. Matt Rowe from Skills Training Australia took us through the professional development pathways and courses they have available and we ended the day with a Takeaway café Laughter Yoga session that again had our endorphins running on high.

Thank you to all that made the day a great interactive experience and I look forward to attending more workshops in Victoria- our Shepparton workshop is on the 3rd of June if you missed your opportunity to attend this one. It would be great to see you there.

Brisbane Workshop

Wow what a day! Seventy Participants from Melbourne, Sydney, Toowoomba and regions, Port Macquarie as well as the Brisbane and greater region made their way to The Brisbane Convention Centre for an amazing day of information and inspiration.

Gail Maskeil a Behaviour Consultant firm the Behaviour Management Advisory Service Alzheimer’s Queensland gave many ideas and information as well as methods to problem solve and get the best outcome for our care recipients.

 Next we welcomed Melissa McArdle who works as a Community Hearing Advisor for Hearing Australia. We learnt all about the free government service and products available and how to book a visit. Melissa also provided some insight as a hearing impaired person what difference it makes to a life and everyday living having aides specifically designed to your needs.

Bridgette Lennox from Australian Aged Care Quality Agency was our next speaker. Bridgette has a background as a Diversional Therapist and brought the process of accreditation into clarity and practicality. There were plenty of questions and discussion on exactly what information and process is required during and Accreditation visit, and how standards are assessed.

It seems that DTs are constantly looking for inspiration when it comes to Keeping Men Busy and that is what I presented on the day. Everything from onsite, respite, outings, activities for all levels of mobility and dementia. Risk assessment and bucket lists for men and how to make them happen. 

There was a quick quiz with 10 prizes issued for Naming when Diversional Therapy Week is and where the Conference is held this year and so on.

Jade Gilchrist a lifestyle coordinator, and consultant for her business Embracing Difference, presented her monthly Lifestyle guide for Diversional  therapists next telling us all to work smarter not harder. After a little bit of organised chaos as attendees were keen to participate verbally and be rewarded with sweets.  One lucky winner went home with a complete set of folders valued at $100.00 as well as other certificates.

Next activity was from our Presenters in the “Takeaway Cafe”. Linda Reidel showed us a great carrot craft idea to decorate tables or make into bunting for residents followed by Darryl Jones presenting ‘Santa Sack ” which was a game to guess and reminisce about the price of items either using grocery, actual goods or advertising picture to guess what the price was from lowest to highest and discuss and reminisce with residents on the increased cost of living. DTA member Laura Panarello then presented her version of Guess the price or The Price is right using food items.

We had handouts on Sailability, Wheelchair Dancing group and Silver Memories 24hour nostalgia radio service that is available.

There was a lot of networking taking place in the breaks and there was a buzz in the room throughout the day with everyone leaving with some great ideas and plenty of information. See some of the great photos below.

Glenda Kubler

Workshop Facilitator & Presenter

Queensland Board Representative

 Diversional Therapy Australia

If there is an area of interest that you would like to learn about or experience first-hand I am always looking for new ideas or workshop presenter topics-please email me at if you would like to contribute or suggest a presenter for a workshop near you!

Same goes if you have an area of interest you’d like to present!! Get all your PD points in one go by attending a workshop and preparing either a presentation or Takeaway café handout!!

My words of wisdom to take away today are “Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you, not because they are nice but because you are.” (Anonymous)

I hope you all are well and happy until next month

Steph Bejma

DTA National Education Coordinator

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