18 September 2023

Leading Riverina dementia expert provides her years of experience to TAFE Wagga

| Jarryd Rowley
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Dementia expert Isobel Baker (left) gifted a copy of her new book to the TAFE NSW Wagga Campus. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

One of NSW’s leading authorities on dementia and former aged care teacher Isobel Baker has presented TAFE NSW Wagga with a new book to guide future students on dementia care.

Ms Baker worked with dementia patients for the better part of 35 years while teaching aged care students in Wagga before writing a one-of-a-kind education tool.

The book, The A to Z of Dementia Care, details Ms Baker’s experiences as a leading dementia expert and provides insight to readers on how to appropriately care for patients.

Ms Baker said she hoped the book would support carers in communicating with dementia patients by helping them identify the different needs of each person.

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“It’s important to be able to pick up on the small nuances in people so that your communication is just that little bit better,” she said.

“The book is simply written so that anybody from a family carer to a doctor can read it and understand how to support their patients.”

Ms Baker said she was encouraged by past students, some of whom she taught at the Wagga Wagga campus, to write about her experiences to support future generations.

“I remember going to Finley and seeing one of my physician’s nursing home, she came up to me and said, ‘Oh, I remember the story you told me about Mr so-and-so, I applied that story you told to me and that really supported me, you’ve got to write a book’.

“That really spoke to me, I said to myself, ‘You’ve gotta do this, you have to write all this information down before it’s too late.'”

The founding manager of Riverina Dementia Support said she had seen a great change in the care of dementia patients from when she started her career in the 1980s.

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“When I first started, there was every chance that a person with dementia would be sent to a psychiatric institution,” she said.

“The aged care facilities were not trained to look after people with dementia and even while I’ve been teaching dementia here at TAFE, it was not a mandatory subject for everybody.

“Fortunately, the Government has just now made it a mandatory subject for the aged care nurses.”

The A to Z of Dementia Care can be purchased through Amazon and Kindle.

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