The Brain and Health Wellness Project to Reduce Dementia Risk

Award Date: 2018

Project Lead(s): Kiran Rabheru, Geriatric Psychiatrist & Keri-Leigh Cassidy, Clinical Academic Director Geriatric Psychiatry

Project Title: Transforming Healthcare for Dementia Prevention: Health Behaviour Change as First Line Medicine

What is the issue?

Making lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of developing dementia. However, not all clinicians can access the knowledge, support, and tools they need to help improve their patients’ brain health.

What did we do?

We assessed the feasibility, ease of use, and the effectiveness of available tools for brain health. Next, we created and distributed a toolkit to clinicians to use with their patients over the age of 40 years without dementia. We also developed The Wellness App that encouraged patients to set goals in five key areas known to reduce the risk of dementia: physical activity, social activity, brain challenge, positive thinking, and mental health. Clinicians assessed study participants’ progress and well-being after four weeks.

What did we find?

A large majority of patients partially achieved their health goals within one month and reported improved well-being. We measured a significant increase in attitudes and beliefs about brain health through questionnaires. Clinicians rated the paper-based tools and the app highly. They said the tools were easy and quick to use, well-received by patients, and helped patients make positive lifestyle changes. Most clinicians reported they would recommend the tools to colleagues.